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Dhaka seeks Berlin's support on Rohingya issue

  • Published at 10:52 am October 19th, 2019
Foreign Minister Momen
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen meets German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas in Berlin on Friday, October 18, 2019 UNB

He also asked for German car manufacturers to invest in Bangladesh and set up their assembly plants

Bangladesh has urged Germany to put pressure on Myanmar so that they can start taking their nationals back, noting that not a single Rohingya has been repatriated over the last two years.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen made the call during his meeting with German Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs Heiko Maas in Berlin on Friday, reports UNB.

Dr Momen told his German counterpart that despite Myanmar agreeing to take the Rohingyas back, not a single Rohingya has gone back to their country. 

He asked the German foreign minister to put pressure on Myanmar on this issue.

Bangladesh Ambassador to Germany Imtiaz Ahmed was also present at the meeting.

Bangladesh is hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas and most of them entered Cox’s Bazar since August 25, 2017 amid military crackdown against Rohingyas in Rakhine State.

On the Brexit issue, Dr Momen said Bangladesh does not want to see any uncertainty in the developed countries.

He said uncertainty will affect the emerging and small economies that are actively involved with the UK and European Union (EU).

German investment sought

Momen invited German car manufacturers like Mercedes, BMW and Volkswagen to invest in Bangladesh and set up their assembly plants in Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Shilpanagar in Chittagong.

The Special Economic Zones set up by the government, and the presence of a strong middle class with growing purchasing power would act as major attractions for foreign investment, he said. 

Apart from a strong domestic market in Bangladesh, the German investors can take advantage of the connectivity with the big markets in China and India and Asean countries, the foreign minister said. 

German investment was sought particularly in infrastructure development, IT, skill development of young force, renewable energy, capacity building of SMEs and other areas.

The two sides discussed effective ways to look into the GSP-plus facility for Bangladesh when EBA expires due to Bangladesh's graduation from the LDC club.

Earlier, the foreign minister addressed the German Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade (BWA) in Berlin on Thursday and highlighted the investment opportunities on a win-win basis.

He called upon the German businesses to invest in Bangladesh taking advantage of business-friendly policies and environment in Bangladesh.

Dr Momen on Wednesday began his visit to multiple European countries, as Bangladesh is putting emphasis on boosting its exports to the European market through further diversification of products as part of its economic diplomacy.

The minister will also visit France, Italy and Greece.

From Berlin, the foreign minister will visit Paris from October 20-22 and attend an Economic Forum there apart from his other engagements.

The Economic Forum will be organized by the French Senate where representatives of BEZA and BIDA are also expected to attend.

Then Momen will visit Rome, Italy on October 27 and Athens, Greece on October 28-29, an official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said. 

Meanwhile, Momen will attend the 18th NAM ministerial meeting on October 23-24 in Baku, Azerbaijan.

The NAM Summit, also to be attended by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, will be held on October 25-26.

He will return home on October 30.

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