Desk Report, 05 March:
Bangladesh today sought Vietnam’s support for a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held bilateral official talks with visiting Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang saying the issue was threatening the region’s stability.
“We have discussed the Rohingya crisis that threatens peace and stability of our region and I sought Vietnam’s support for a peaceful solution to the problem,” Sheikh Hasina said while speaking at a joint press statement with the Vietnam President after the talks at the Prime Minister’s Office here this morning. BSS
President Tran Dai Quang, she said, expressed his support towards a viable and long-term solution to the problem.
In her statement, the Bangladesh premier said they discussed entire gamut of the bilateral relations in a warm and cordial atmosphere and identified new areas of cooperation.
“Besides cementing our political relations, major focus of our discussion was to enhance trade, investment and technical cooperation,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the two countries have agreed that the 2nd Foreign Office Consultation as well as the 2nd meeting of the Joint Committee on Trade will be held this year to steer bilateral cooperation initiatives.
“We’re also happy that MoUs in areas of Fisheries and Livestock, Machinery Manufacturing and Cultural Exchange Programmes have been signed which would strengthen bilateral cooperation,” she said.
The prime minister also referred to her government’s keenness to institutionalize the political, trade and economic partnerships with the ASEAN countries as well as to join the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Forum.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina mentioned that she sought Vietnam’s support for Bangladesh to become “Sectoral Dialogue Partner” of ASEAN and also for Dhaka’s aspiration to join the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation.
The prime minister said she conveyed to President Quang that Bangladesh believes in maintaining peace, stability, and the rule-based order for the seas and oceans, including safety and freedoms of navigation and over flight, in accordance with international laws.
“We support peaceful settlement of all international disputes, including territorial and maritime disputes, in accordance with international laws, including the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” she said.
The prime minister thanked President Tran Dai Quang for bringing with him a business delegation who would discuss with their counterparts in Bangladesh about ways and means to boost trade and investment in both the countries.
“We encourage entrepreneurs and businessmen of both Bangladesh and Vietnam to explore opportunities in our respective economies,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said as close neighbours, Bangladesh and Vietnam share common aspirations to promote peace and development. “The peoples of both the countries share similar customs, traditions and values,” she said.
The prime minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the great leader of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh had dedicated their lives for the independence of their people.
“The struggle of Vietnamese against oppressive forces inspired Bangladesh in its War of Independence. As a student leader, I myself led and participated in the protest rallies against Vietnam War in late 60s … I can still recall the vivid memories of those days,” she said.
Thanking President Quang for visiting Bangladesh, the premier hoped that his visit would go a long way in taking Bangladesh-Vietnam relations to new heights.