Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today urged the Russian government to exert more pressure on Myanmar for starting Rohingya repatriation from Bangladesh to their land of origin in Rakhine.
"The Russian government has a lot of influence on Myanmar. . . (so we believe) if they can put more pressure on Myanmar, hopefully, they (Myanmar) will take back their displaced people (Rohingyas)," he said.
The minister was addressing the 5th Asian Conference of the Soviet/Russian Graduates organized by Soviet Alumni Association in Bangladesh at a city hotel.
He said Myanmar had agreed to take back their displaced nationals from Bangladesh but now they are delaying the process.
Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million forcefully displaced Rohingyas in Cox's Bazar district and most of them arrived there since August 25, 2017 after a military crackdown by Myanmar, which the UN called a "textbook example of ethnic cleansing" and "genocide" by other rights groups.
In the last two years, not a single Rohingya was repatriated as Myanmar failed to build trust among their forcibly displaced nationals that there is a conducive environment in Rakhine State to go back.
Mentioning that Bangladesh had a long history of friendship with the former Union of the Soviet Socialist Republics, Momen said: "all of us aware of the support and contribution of Soviet Union during our War of Liberation and thereafter."
For their unconditional support, he said "the Soviet Union, its leadership, its government and its people earned a special place in the hearts of Bangladeshi people".
However, the foreign minister said potential of the bilateral cooperation and mutual understanding between the two nations lost in the political tumult that ensued in Bangladesh after the brutal killing of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1975.
But, he said, after returning to the state power in 2009, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's government decided to engage with Russia in a vigorous manner, "as we realized, there are a number of sectors where both our countries can engage in a beneficial manner."
Ever since that moment, he said Bangladesh and Russia have been closely working to establish a mutually beneficial comprehensive economic partnership in various sectors.
Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant (RNPP) now stands as a signature initiative in that respect, he said.
"As a long-standing friend and trusted partner, we need the Russian Federation to ensure energy security and economic development in Bangladesh," Momen added.
The minister also urged Russian enterprises to invest in potential sectors here as currently Bangladesh offers the highest investment return among the South Asian nations.
"If you want to make money then come to Bangladesh," he suggested.
Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander I. Ignatov also spoke on the occasion.