Singapore urged to pursue Myanmar for Rohingya repatriation

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PV Desk : Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today urged Singapore to pursue Myanmar government being the current chair of ASEAN to take back the Rohingyas she held bilateral talks with her Singaporean counterpart Lee Hsein Loong here.

“Stability and development of the region is dependent on their repatriation,” the Bangladesh premier told Lee at the meeting at Istana, official residence of Singapore President and office of the country’s Prime Minister.

Sheikh Hasina said the Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on Rohingya repatriation but the “process is being delayed” while seeking Singapore’s intervention for their safe and dignified return.

Later briefing the newsmen along with premier’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haq said bilateral trade and problems of seafarers prominently dominated in the talks alongside the Rohingya crisis.

“The entire gamut of bilateral issue including Rohingya issue was discussed in their long discussion,” he said.

Ahead of the talks Sheikh Hasina made a courtesy call on Singapore President Halimah Yacob at Istana.

The foreign secretary said the two leaders focused on economic collaboration including business and investment as it’s the basis of the relation of the two countries while Sheikh Hasina showed interest in Singapore’s investment in the areas of food and fish processing and energy.

Lee Hsein, he said, responded positively as the Bangladesh premier urged him to invest in Special Economic Zones also to reduce the huge trade gap between the two countries.

According to Haque the two premiers discussed on connectivity issue, ways of strengthening air connectivity and free movement of seafarers in Singapore.

Sheikh Hasina invited the Singapore president and the prime minister to visit Bangladesh in their convenience this year while both of them accepted the invitation saying schedules of their visits would be fixed on the convenience of the both the sides.

Sheikh Hasina requested her Singaporean counterpart to resolve the problems of seafarers. Lee Hsein assured her of looking into the matter and take steps for its resolution.

Sheikh Hasina also expressed her government’s high interest in construction of deep sea port requesting for support of Singapore.

In the meeting with Hilimah Yacob, the foreign secretary said the president of Singapore highly lauded Sheikh Hasina’s leadership particularly for her role in women emancipation and gender issue.