Visiting Singaporean Foreign Minister Dr Vivian Balakrishnan on Sunday emphasised on speedy repatriation of the Rohingya people from Bangladesh as he paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Ganabhaban in the capital.
“We want quick repatriation of the Rohingya people from Bangladesh otherwise they may be engaged in terrorism if their stay is prolonged,” PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted the Singaporean foreign minister as saying while briefing reporters after the meeting.
Dr Balakrishnan, however, appreciated starting repatriation process of Rohingya people who fled to Bangladesh following the Myanmar army’s crackdown in northwestern Rakhine State.
In this connection, the Singaporean foreign minister said security of the Rohingya people after their repatriation to their homeland must be ensured.
Dr Balakrishnan informed the prime minister that the Myanmar government has invited the ASEAN countries to visit Rakhaine State to see the condition of the Rohingyas there.
The prime minister termed again the influx of over 11 lakh Rohingyas into Bangladesh as a big burden for the country.
“The Rohingya people, particularly women and children, have become the victims of atrocities in Myanmar and we’ve given shelter to them on a humanitarian ground,” she said.
She praised the international community for their assistance in rehabilitation of the Rohingya people here.
Describing Myanmar as a friendly country of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina reiterated her government’s firm stance on not allowing anyone to use Bangladesh’s soil for terrorist acts.
Mentioning that her government has allocated land for Singaporean investors in special economic zones, the prime minister urged the Singaporean entrepreneurs to make investment in a larger volume in the zones.
Highlighting Bangladesh’s tremendous socioeconomic progress over the last 10 years, Sheikh Hasina said the country achieved 7:86 percent GDP growth in the last fiscal due to various pragmatic steps of her government.
“We hope that the GDP growth in the current fiscal year would be around 8.25 percent,” she said.
Pointing to the sand shortage in Singapore, the prime minister called upon the Singapore government to dredge rivers in Bangladesh and take back the sand of the rivers free of cost.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, PM’s International Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi, Principal Coordinator on SDG Affairs Md Abul Kalam Azad, PMO Secretary Sajjadul Hassan, Bangladesh High Commissioner to Singapore Mostafizur Rahman and Singapore High Commissioner in Dhaka Derek Loh Eu-Tse were present on the occasion.