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Foreign secy: Mujib Borsho, Rohingya issues among priority agenda

  • Published at 08:56 pm January 1st, 2020
Foreign Secretary Masud bin momen
Members of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) meet with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen at his office on Wednesday, January 1, 2020 UNB

The foreign secretary said they would put emphasis on good team work and working closely with Bangladesh missions abroad to uphold the progress across the world

The newly-appointed Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Wednesday said the government will have much focus on its efforts to successfully hold a series of program marking the "Mujib Borsho" (Mujib Year)  at home and abroad keeping global focus on Rohingya issue unchanged for their early repatriation.  

He said the mega celebration marking the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman engaging the international community will begin on March 17. 

Foreign Secretary Masud said this when members of Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) met him at his office congratulating him on his appointment on Wednesday.

He said they had a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen the same day from where they got some directives for the New Year on key issues, including how to address trade-related challenges in the coming years, reports UNB.  

The foreign secretary said they would put emphasis on good team work and working closely with Bangladesh missions abroad to uphold the progress across the world. "We have many works ahead. We are chalking out many events."  

Highlighting Bangladesh's economic progress over the past years, the foreign secretary said the world now expects Bangladesh's leadership in many areas or looks at Bangladesh for taking the leadership role. 

 He said the government has decided to strengthen the activities of the ministry and expedite works in its missions abroad.  

Rohingya issue  

Masud said they will spend much time in public diplomacy and keep focus on the Rohingya issue so that global attention to it does not get reduced or affected.  

He said the Rohingya issue draws international attention and all, including media, NGOs, INGOs, civil society and think tanks, will have to work together to keep that focus unaffected.  

The fresh foreign secretary wants to see a "medium-term to long-term" situation as it will take time to repatriate all the Rohingyas even if the repatriation begins soon. "How we manage the situation depends on how quickly we can begin. We need to start, even if on a small scale."  

File photo: An exhausted Rohingya refugee woman touches the shore after crossing the Bangladesh-Myanmar border by boat through the Bay of Bengal in Shah Porir Dwip, Bangladesh, September 11, 2017 | ReutersTalking about three fronts -- bilateral, multilateral; and accountability and justice, he said though many may term these three fronts "mutually exclusive," these are complimentary to each other.  

"Our key target is to make sure that Rohingyas return to their homeland with dignity and voluntarily. Keeping their repatriation in our mind, we will work on all fronts," he said adding, that there is a separate dimension of accountability - confidence-building measures which will help expedite the repatriation process.  

He termed China's engagement in repatriation process as a kind of extension of bilateral engagement and is also to some extent trilateral approach in which Asean and Myanmar's neighbours may come into.  

Responding to a question on Bhasan Char relocation plan and its inclusion in the 2020 Joint Response Plan (JRP), he said discussions are going on.  

Dhaka-Delhi ties   

About Bangladesh's close neighbour India and recent development there regarding the National Register of Citizens (NRC) issue, he said they will have to work amid difficulties as it is usual to have some challenges among neighbours everywhere in the world.  

"Bangladesh-India relations reached a new height," he said referring to communication between the two countries' leadership.  

The Foreign Secretary said they are keeping eyes on the situation in India taking the assurance came from India officially into consideration.  

He said NRC is an internal issue of India and the initial instability is getting lessened gradually with a hope that India will manage it peacefully. 

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