PM Hasina seeks Indonesia’s help to send Rohingya refugees back to Myanmar

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged Indonesia to play a role in sending back the Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

She made the call at a bilateral meeting with Indonesia President Joko Widodo on the sidelines of the IORA Leaders’ Summit on Tuesday.

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque briefed the media about the meeting in Jakarta.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina

He said Hasina and Widodo discussed the visit by Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno LP Marsudi to Bangladesh and Myanmar to discuss the Rohingya issue by the end of last year.

“The honourable prime minister said it is a major problem and needs to be solved. She requested Indonesia to play a role in sending back the Myanmar people- Rohingya – who are in Bangladesh now,” Haque said.

Bangladesh has been sheltering over 500,000 Rohingya refugees who fled persecutions inside Myanmar, for a long time.

The latest flow of Rohingyas into Bangladesh started after the Myanmar Army launched a crackdown on the ethnic group following deadly attacks on border police posts in October last year.

The foreign secretary said the issue of importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) from Indonesia was also discussed in the meeting.

He said Indonesia already proposed to sign a memorandum of understanding on the matter.

The country’s president also expressed eagerness to be involved more in developing Bangladesh’s railway’s sector. Bangladesh recently bought 250 train coaches from Indonesia.

Haque said the prime minister noted that Bangladesh is exporting medicines to 70 countries including the US and many in Europe. The Indonesian president expressed interest in cooperation between the two countries in this field also.

Widodo also accepted Hasina’s invitation for a visit and said he would send a minister-level delegation to discuss the visit within two months, Haque said.

Besides the Indonesia president, Sheikh Hasina also held bilateral meetings with Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena, and state ministers of United Arab Emirates, Japan and India on the sidelines of the summit.