Stating that the root of Rohingya problem lies in Myanmar, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Monday urged the international community, including Switzerland, to keep up pressure on Myanmar for an early peaceful solution to the crisis.
The Prime Minister came up with the call in a statement after a meeting with visiting President of Swiss Confederation Alain Berset at her office.
“We had a productive meeting today. We’ve discussed the Rohingya crisis during bilateral talks. I shared that as the root of the problem lies in Myanmar, the solution has to be found in Myanmar,“ she said.
“I put emphasis on full and immediate implementation of the recommendations of the Kofi Annan Commission Report, as that will be critically important for the sustainable return of the Rohingya people, in safety and dignity, to their homes in Myanmar,” the Prime Minister said .
At the meeting, she said, they discussed the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which provides a unique opportunity to build new global partnerships.
Sheikh Hasina said today both the countries agreed to conclude a framework MoU on collaboration on matters related to the implementation of Agenda 2030 in near future.
A joint declaration identifying the key areas for broader cooperation between the two countries was issued today, she said adding, “We may now ask our respective authorities to develop a roadmap for the implementation of our joint undertakings in a time-bound manner for the shared prosperity of our two people.”
She thanked Alain Berset for making his historic first-ever official visit to Bangladesh and termed it a milestone in 45 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Hasina recalled her visit to Switzerland in December 2000 at the invitation of the then President of the Swiss Confederation.
She said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had great admiration about Switzerland for its democratic values, high economic achievement, unique foreign policy of peace, friendship and firm neutrality. “Bangabandhu, my father, looked at Switzerland as a model and wanted to develop Bangladesh as the ‘Switzerland of the East’.”
Switzerland was among the first few West European countries to recognize Bangladesh as an independent state on 13 March 1972. Ever since Switzerland became an important development partner and a time tested friend, she said.
Hasina appreciated the role played by Switzerland regarding the Rohingya crisis at different United Nations forums and beyond.
“I’m very happy to learn that high-powered business delegations from both countries exchanged views in the first-ever high-level Bangladesh–Swiss Business and Investment Forum held today.”
She hoped that Swiss companies will explore business opportunities in Bangladesh, and invited them to participate in sectors like oil and gas exploration, power and energy including renewable energy, critical infrastructure development, ICT, banking and insurance, and pharmaceuticals.
Terming the relations between Switzerland and Bangladesh as good, Swiss President Alain Berset said Switzerland with this visit demonstrates its support and solidarity for Bangladesh during the Rohingya crisis.
“The bilateral relations between our countries are good. We’ve had the opportunity to exchange today on areas — trade, development cooperation, cultural exchanges, and climate change — where both countries see a strong potential for development of our relations,” he said in another statement after the joint briefing.
Berset lauded Bangladesh’s efforts in further strengthening democracy and rule of law and the challenges that go with it.
He also greeted Bangladesh as it is heading towards emerging a middle-income nation. “We also welcome efforts in improving the business climate, legal security and the need for a sustainable business environment, including respect for human rights.”
Mentioning that the bilateral trade between the two countries has almost doubled over the past seven year, he said: “It’s my firm belief that the Swiss-Bangladeshi trade and investment will reach new heights in the future.”
Switzerland is very much interested in continuing this path with the government of Bangladesh, the private sector and civil society organizations, said Berset adding that a particular focus on the next couple of years will be on social inclusion, economic development, governance and safe migration.