French president Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday assured Bangladesh of his country’s humanitarian support and playing a due role in the UN and other international forums for having a permanent solution to the ongoing Rohingya crisis.
Macron came up with the assurance during a bilateral meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina at Elysee Palace in capital city of France.
Foreign secretary Shahidul Haque briefed reporters after the meeting.
‘We’ll continue our humanitarian support and play our role in the United
Nations and other international forums so that the Rohingya problem comes to an end permanently,’ he quoted the French president as saying.
At the meeting, Macron wanted to know from prime minister Sheikh Hasina about the present status of the Rohingya crisis, what Bangladesh is doing now and what it expects from France in this connection.
In reply, Sheikh Hasina said now over one million forcibly displaced Myanmar Rohingyas are living in Bangladesh and this is a big burden on the country and also a problem for its environment.
The prime minister briefly mentioned the five-point proposal that she had placed in the last UN General Assembly and said the real solution to this problem is lying in the implementation of these proposals.
She also said the foreign minister of Bangladesh recently visited Myanmar and signed a bilateral agreement with Myanmar.
‘We inked the bilateral agreement, but we want the international community to continue their support [to Bangladesh] and keep up the pressure [Myanmar] in this regard, or else this agreement will not see the implementation,’ she said.
Hasina then asked foreign minister Mahmood Ali to briefly describe the matter.
Shahidul Haque said both the prime minister and the French president agreed to form a Joint Economic Commission to explore the trade and investment potential between the two countries.’ The modalities of this joint economic commission will be decided later,’ he said.
Macron urged Sheikh Hasina to identify the priority sectors where the French investment could be made and businessmen could be engaged.
In reply, the prime minister mentioned energy, infrastructure, pharmaceuticals and ICT sectors, and special economic zones.
The French president expressed his happiness learning that the prime minister will hold discussions with the French business community on Wednesday about various trade opportunities, incentives and facilities on foreign investment in Bangladesh.
Describing terrorism and extremism as a global problem, Hasina said Bangladesh maintains a zero-tolerance policy about the two menaces and is handling those with an iron hand.
Both the leaders started their discussions with the climate change issue as the prime minister is now in Paris to attend a climate change summit.
Hasina said Bangladesh is the worst victim of the adverse impacts of global climate change although it has no contribution to global carbon emissions.
She thanked the French president for taking the initiative to hold the Summit against the backdrop of US withdrawal from the climate change pact and completion of two years of signing the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.
Recalling his call to Sheikh Hasina to play a leading role in the climate issue during a side event of the UN General Assembly in September last, Macron said the current summit is about action. The action will be taken together by all to implement the Paris Agreement, he said.
Accepting Hasina’s invitation to visit Bangladesh, the French president said this visit could take place at the beginning of the next year during his Asia tour but the time and date will be set later through discussions.
Earlier on her arrival at the Elysee Palace, the prime minister was received by the French president. She was given a static guard of honour.
‘After the meeting, the president also saw the prime minister off at the gate leading to the car,’ the Foreign Secretary said.
Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali, senior secretary of the PMO Suraiya Begum and Bangladesh ambassador to France Quazi Imtiaz Hossain were also present during the bilateral meeting.
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