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Visa policy, RAB sanctions to be discussed during Donald Lu’s visit: FM

Bangladesh dev not possible without Indian tie

Published : 13 May 2024 10:24 PM

Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Monday said the US visa policy and sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) officials will be discussed during the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu.

“We will discuss US Visa policy and sanction on RAB individuals (during Lu’s visit) … We have already discussed the matter of withdrawal or easing those when US Whitehouse and state department officials visit here earlier… so these issues will come up naturally (this time),” he said.

The foreign minister made the remarks while responding to a question of a journalist on the upcoming visit of Donald Lu in Dhaka.     

Dr Hasan said the current relations between Bangladesh and the US is very sound and Dhaka will work together whoever visits here from the US administration.

“Whoever visits here... we will work together to advance our (Bangladesh-US) relations,” he said.   

Donald Lu will travel Bangladesh on May 14 as part of his tri-nation tour of the region.

He will also visit India and Sri Lanka before coming to Dhaka.

His trip will strengthen bilateral cooperation with each country and demonstrate US support for a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, said the US Department State.

Lu will meet government officials, civil society leaders, and other Bangladeshis to discuss US-Bangladesh cooperation, including addressing the climate crisis and deepening economic ties, said spokesperson at the US Department of State.

Bangladesh dev not possible without Indian tie

The Foreign Minister also said Bangladesh development is not possible without good relations with India as both the countries share common border of several thousand kilometers. 

“The country (India) which we (Bangladesh) have several thousand kilometers of border … the country with which we have borders on three sides---- our development is not possible without maintaining good relations with that country,” he told the reporters at the foreign ministry in Dhaka. 

The foreign minister said it is not possible to maintain peace and stability in Bangladesh without good relations with the neighbor.

Hasan who is also Awami League’s joint general secretary made the remarks while responding a question regarding BNP’s failed programme on boycott of the Indian products.   

“Their efforts (call for boycotting Indian products) went unsuccessful. 

They know it, too. It will be refused by the people of the country again if BNP comes up with the agenda afresh,” he said. 

He said BNP will further be isolated from the people, nothing more than that if they again call for a boycott of Indian products.

The AL leader said there are Indian products in many of their (BNP leaders) houses.

Hasan said the main aim of BNP’s boycott Indian products campaign was to create a crisis in the domestic markets to create instability in the country’s economy.

Besides, the Foreign Minister also said Bangladesh wants to begin the repatriation of the Rohingyas, noting that Myanmar's internal conflict, which has always been there, cannot be an excuse for delaying the Rohingya repatriation.

“We are always in engagement with Myanmar. We want to see the commencement of repatriation at least,” he said, adding that he even requested his Myanmar counterpart during his recent meeting abroad regarding the matter.

Hasan said the Myanmar government needs to take a collective effort to begin the repatriation of the Rohingyas.

He, however, said it is true that the current situation in Arakan creates a barrier to repatriation to some extent but conflict is always there in Myanmar.

Bangladesh is now hosting over 1.3 million Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar and Bhasan Char with a growing number of Rohingya populations every year.

"Look, we engage with the government. We are talking with the government of Myanmar. It is also right that Rohingya repatriation is delayed due to internal conflict there. But what we are talking about is that there has always been chaos in Myanmar," he told reporters in Cox’s Bazar on Sunday.

Sharing the history of the last 70-80 years, Hasan said Myanmar has never been free from unrest, but that cannot be an excuse to not take back the Rohingyas who have been expelled from Myanmar.

Referring to the visit of the members of the parliamentary standing committee on foreign affairs to the Rohingya camp, the foreign minister said that various problems have arisen due to the presence of the Rohingyas for a long time.

For example, he said, environmental problems caused by the Rohingyas, law and order problems, as well as many Rohingyas having been linked to Yaba and other drug trafficking and terrorist activities.

Saying that terrorist and fanatic groups are recruiting members from Rohingya camps, he said that not only problems are being created in the country, but also in the neighboring countries due to the spread of terrorist networks.

"I have spoken to the Foreign Minister of Myanmar about the repatriation of the Rohingyas and we are also in regular discussions with other countries, so as to put pressure on Myanmar to take back their citizens with full rights," Hasan said.