Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has sought the active cooperation of Sri Lanka in the repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas of Myanmar.
In response, Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa assured Dr AK Abdul Momen of full cooperation in this regard when the foreign minister called on him at Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Friday.
The foreign minister also sought Sri Lanka's support for the Bangladeshi candidates for the post of regional director of the South East Asia Regional Office (SEARO) of the World Health Organisation (WHO) for 2023 and for the Human Rights Council for 2023-25. Mahinda Rajapaksa said Sri Lanka will provide strong support to Bangladesh in this regard.
At the meeting, Dr Momen also requested Mahinda Rajapaksa to implement some of the agreements and memoranda of understanding signed earlier by the two countries, in response to which the Sri Lankan prime minister said he would try to implement them.
The two sides also discussed issues related to enhanced communication between the two countries, the launch of coastal waterways, the preferential trade agreement, the bilateral investment promotion and protection agreement, and the export of Bangladeshi medicines to Sri Lanka. At meeting, requests were made to build a permanent embassy of Sri Lanka in Bangladesh like Turkey, the United States and India.
The Sri Lankan Prime Minister lauded the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the economic development of Bangladesh and in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic.
The foreign minister thanked Mahinda Rajapaksa for accepting the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and for visiting Bangladesh during the celebrations of Bangabandhu's birth centenary and Golden Jubilee of independence. He said the Sri Lankan prime minister's visit to Bangladesh at this historic moment has made us proud.
In response to a question, the Sri Lankan prime minister said burka (face veil) have not been banned for Muslim women in the country. Although some quarters called for a ban on burka, the Sri Lankan government has not accepted it.
Mentioning that there is misinformation in the media that Muslims are being cremated in Sri Lanka, Mahinda Rajapaksa said 39 Muslims have been buried recently according to Muslim rites.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen were present during the meeting.