Bangladesh has sought US support to create a safe zone in Rakhine for Rohingyas which would be monitored by international human rights groups and mount credible global pressure on Myanmar for their safe return.
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen met US secretary of state Mike Pompeo in Washington DC on Monday and discussed the issue.
This was the first meeting between the two leaders since their assumption of office in respective governments.
Secretary Pompeo stressed that the responsibility for resolution of Rohingya crisis rests with Myanmar, which must create the necessary conditions for voluntary repatriation.
Pompeo emphasised how they would work with the international community to increase support for Rohingyas and host communities, while addressing the root causes and conditions in Myanmar.
He lauded Bangladesh’s generosity in continuing to host over one million Rohingyas from Myanmar, said US state department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus.
Deportation of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s killer Rashed Chowdhury from the USA to Bangladesh, shared vision of a free and open Indo-Pacific, US investment in Bangladesh, duty and quota-free access of Bangladesh’s garments products in the US market and US-Bangladesh partnership in multiple sectors were also discussed at the meeting apart from Rohingya issue, according to the Bangladesh embassy in Washington.
Momen informed Bangladesh at its own expense had developed the island ‘Bhashanchar’ into a livable place in which one lakh Rohingyas are planned to be relocated in coordination with UN agencies and different aid groups.
The US secretary of state re-assured that the one million-plus forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals have to return to Myanmar without any form of fear and persecution.
He said it was the responsibility of the Myanmar government and military to create conducive environment so that the Rohingyas feel safe to return home.
The US secretary of state reiterated that US would stand beside Bangladesh (both politically and financially) in finding a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis.
He also lauded the humanitarian gesture of the government led by prime minister Sheikh Hasina for temporarily sheltering the persecuted Rohingyas.
Regarding deportation of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s self-confessed and convicted killer Rashed Chowdhury from the USA, the Bangladesh foreign minister pointed out that he is fleeing justice.
He said this was essential to carry out a vital common agenda of both countries pertaining to counter-terrorism and countering-violent extremism and upholding the rule of law.
Both leaders agreed that for greater prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, vital energy and infrastructure projects need to be implemented on regional partnership basis.
In that respect, leaders of the region need to work together on issues such as governance, accountability, the rule of law and maritime security.
Momen stated that Bangladesh was lauded internationally for its impressive development journey.
He sought more investment from the USA in the oil and gas sector and US presence in the Special Economic Zones.
Foreign minister Momen sought US support to the candidature of Bangladesh in the upcoming election to the post of deputy director general of International Organisation for Migration.
Secretary Pompeo emphasised the importance of advancing good governance, transparency, and democratic values, as Bangladesh continues its emergence as a key partner in the Indo-Pacific, according to the US department of state.
Later in the day, the foreign minister had meetings with senior officials of the US state department and deputy national security adviser Charles Kupperman.
Bangladesh ambassador to the USA Mohammad Ziauddin accompanied the minister at the meetings.
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from Foreign affairs