Bangladesh to assess Saudi request on taking back Rohingyas

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 22:13, Feb 13,2020 | Updated: 22:27, Feb 13,2020


A New Age file photo shows tens of thousands of Rohingyas join a rally at Kutupalang refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar last year marking two years of their exodus from Myanmar.

Bangladesh would examine a request of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to take back Rohingya people, who are citizens of Myanmar, staying in the Arab kingdom for several decades.
A Saudi delegation once again raised the issue in a meeting of the joint commission of the two countries in Dhaka on Thursday, Bangladesh officials said.
‘They have raised the issue,’ Economic Relations Division secretary Monowar Ahmed, who led the Bangladesh side in the talks, told journalists after concluding the meeting.
‘We took note of their request for examining the matter as it involves several ministries,’ he said.
Mahir Abdul Rahman Gassim, a deputy minister of the labour and social development ministry who led the Saudi delegation, told journalists that it was a ‘sensitive’ issue.
He said that they sought regularisation of passports of irregular migrants by the countries of origin or from the countries the people in question went to Saudi Arabia.
The Arab kingdom on various occasions in the past requested the Bangladesh authorities to take back over 50,000 Rohingya people of Myanmar from the country, creating an irritant in the bilateral ties with Bangladesh.
Saudi Arabia had received thousands of Rohingya people of Myanmar from different countries, including Bangladesh, Malaysia and Pakistan, on humanitarian grounds in late seventies with travel documents issued by various countries, diplomatic sources said.
The meeting also discussed high investment potentials of large Saudi companies in Bangladesh, boosting cooperation in a wide range of areas, including manpower, power, energy and telecommunications, according to Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha.
Saudi companies—ACWA Power, ARAMCO, Al-Bawany, Al Jomiah, Engineering Dimension, Red Sea Gate Way Terminal, Honey and Health—under the Council of Saudi Chambers discussed different issues related to Saudi investment in Bangladesh.
The Saudi Al-Bawani group agreed to conduct a feasibility study to assess the suitability of establishing industries in Bangladesh economic zones.
A proposal of about one billion USD for the telecommunications infrastructure development (4G and 5G) by Teletalk Bangladesh Limited was discussed with the Al-Jomiah Group and both sides agreed to work further on the opportunities on a priority basis.
Both sides agreed to cooperate further in the judicial field between the two countries as well as in the field of drug control, fraud, forgery, and counterfeiting crimes, and to update information to maintain peace and harmony in both countries.
The Saudi side also expressed their intent to strengthen the cooperation between the Saudi Fund for Development and the central bank of Bangladesh.
Representatives of different ministries joined the meeting with the 45-member Saudi delegation.



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