PM wants talks on Myanmar refugees

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Hasina is currently in Myanmar’s capital Naypyidaw to take part in the BIMSTEC summit, where she met President Thein Sein in the presidential palace on Monday.

Members of his cabinet were also present during the meeting that lasted for almost 45 minutes.

The president opened his remarks by congratulating the Awami League chief on her re-election in the 10th general election.

“The prime minister has stressed on friendly and cordial talks to bring back its refugees from Bangladesh,” said her Special Assistant for media Mahbubul Hoque Shakil.

There are about 30,000 Rohingya refugees living in two camps in Cox’s Bazaar. The government’s data suggest a further 500,000 or more are living outside the camps.

The previous Hasina administration had decided to do a headcount to ascertain the number of illegal migrants, saying their long-term stay resulted in socioeconomic, political, environmental and security crises in Bangladesh.

Earlier in 2012, Bangladesh reacted heavily when Opposition Leader Aung San Suu Kyi suggested that Muslim Rohingyas may actually be illegal Bangladeshi migrants. Hasina met with the Nobel Peace Prize winner for the first time on Monday.

In her meeting with the president, Hasina said Myanmar was Bangladesh’s ‘nearest neighbour’ and the two countries needed to work together to improve the living standard of the region’s people. She termed poverty as their ‘common enemy’.

“Bangladesh will never be used to foster terror activities against another nation,” Hasina told her host, said her aide.

“Zero tolerance against terror will continue,” she said.

The Bangladesh leader told the president the countries in this region will grow stronger if communications between them was further developed.

“It will also boost trade,” the prime minister further said.

Myanmar is setting up land communication with India and Thailand, said Sein, and extended it to Bangladesh saying it could join if it wanted.

Roads between Bangladesh, Myanmar and China will enhance trade within the region, said Hasina.

Bangladeshis were interested to invest in Myanmar, especially in its food-processing industry, she added.

She was accompanied by State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam and the ministry’s Secretary Shahidul Haque, Ambassador-At-Large Mohammad Ziauddin and Dhaka’s envoy to Myanmar Anup Kumar Chakma.

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