Australia greatly respects Bangladesh’s independent foreign policy towards its engagement in various international initiatives and would never ask it to make a choice as far as regional geopolitics is concerned.
“We respect greatly Bangladesh’s independent and sovereign foreign policy approach. We would never ask anybody to make a choice,” Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Jeremy Bruer said.
Responding to a question on whether Australia was okay with Bangladesh’s foreign policy to seek economic cooperation from China, the High Commissioner said they would never ask anybody to make a choice.
The envoy said Australia has previously benefited from China’s economic growth and hopes that all countries of the region can do the same.
Asked about the kind of security cooperation Australia is seeking from Bangladesh, Bruer said Australia and Bangladesh share vast sea resources and would work together to harness the possibilities.
In this regard, he mentioned that the sea resources must be accessed in a sustainable way.
The Australian High Commissioner said Bangladesh has been a very responsible nation regarding international security, including its active involvement in sending peacekeepers in large numbers to UN peace operation missions. “Australia and Bangladesh can collaborate on this front too.”
In reply to another question, the High Commissioner said they were to see a secure and prosperous region and countries like Bangladesh will hopefully benefit from it.
At this stage, he said, COVID-19 cooperation, vaccination, and other regional challenges are being discussed.
Speaking about the Rohingya crisis, the High Commissioner said Australia remains strongly committed to finding a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis and help Bangladesh manage the situation. Rohingya issue is a massive humanitarian crisis and Australia will continue to help Bangladesh’s efforts towards a solution, he added.
Highlighting Australia’s commitment in humanitarian and disaster response, he said since 2017, Australia has provided over $270 million in humanitarian assistance to Rohingya and host communities in Cox’s Bazar.
“We provided $79.7 million last year [2020-21], including $10 million in emergency assistance following the recent fire in the camps,” said Bruer. Lotus/mynuddin