Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, MP called on the UK to exert and increase pressure on Myanmar for solving the Rohingya crisis urgently by sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas to Rakhine.
Dr Momen made this call on Wednesday during a video conference with UK Department for International Development (DFID) Secretary of State Anne-Marie Trevelyan, said a press release.
At the outset, Momen expressed his sympathy for the severity of Covid-19 in the UK, and briefed Trevelyan on the steps taken by Bangladesh to contain the virus.
He briefed the DFID head about the economic and social impact of Covid-19 in Bangladesh, including the challenge of job loss by a significant number of Bangladeshi migrant workers abroad, particularly in the Middle East.
He requested the support of the UK in overcoming this difficulty.
Momen flagged that Myanmar has not done anything till date for repatriation of the Rohingyas. He insisted that until international community exerts more pressure on Myanmar, including by putting trade and investment moratorium, the Rohingya crisis will not be resolved.
While thanking the DFID as a longstanding development partner of Bangladesh, Dr Momen pointed out that transparency, accountability and aid effectiveness regarding disbursement of aid are critical, and requested the UK to keep the Government of Bangladesh informed of the different development programmes, modes of distribution and modalities of development activities carried out by DFID in Bangladesh.
DFID Secretary Trevelyan assured Foreign Minister Momen of following transparent mechanism in this regard.
The two Ministers also discussed the issue of climate change, and committed to work together for addressing the global challenge.
Dr Momen informed Trevelyan about the Climate Vulnerable Forum, where Bangladesh is the Chair now, and suggested that UK could help Bangladesh to strengthen the Forum.
He also raised the issue of RMG export to UK being severely affected during the Coronavirus crisis and flagged that even now, close to 300 million dollars' worth of confirmed orders have been cancelled by the British brands and retailers. Momen requested for support of the Government of UK to solve this problem of defaulting on confirmed orders by UK companies. He suggested that a Covid-19 recovery fund could be created to address this particular issue.
Foreign Minister Momen also briefed Trevelyan about the trade and investment opportunities in Bangladesh, discussed the advantages of investing in Bangladesh; and suggested that UK, a major investor in Bangladesh, could further diversify its investment here.
He also suggested that the UK could invest in skill development in Bangladesh for sectors that would be beneficial both for Bangladesh and the UK.
The two Ministers also discussed the possibility of strengthening the Commonwealth. It was agreed that the two countries would explore the ways to take the Commonwealth to new levels.