Rohingya is serious issue, it will get priority: Momen

DHAKA, Jan 14, 2019 : Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen today termed the Rohingya crisis as a serious issue and said he set it as a priority to resolve the problem in his new assignment.

“It’s a serious issue. It will remain as a priority issue,” he said while exchanging views with journalists at his office.

Just after taking office as the foreign minister, Momen said he is studying what kind of strategy and new plan will have to be taken to make it a success. “We want solution,” he added.

Mentioning Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s five point proposals to resolve the Rohingya crisis in the UN, Momen said “Honourable Prime Minister’s five points were very clear. Those include sustainable return of the Rohingyas and punishment to those who committed crimes”.

Momen, who was Bangladesh permanent representative to the UN from 2009 to 2015, said he also asked his ministry to make an impact analysis of the crisis from the economic, social and security dimension.

“If the crisis persists, then our neighbours India, Thailand, Myanmar and China’s interests will also be affected. Instability can be developed while different interest groups can enter into the scene,” he said.

The minister observed that all neighbours would have to work together. “We have to make it understand to others, who are not giving attention properly, that your interests will be affected.”

Replying to a query about his first visit abroad as the foreign minister, Momen said he has decided to visit India first considering the existing warm relations between the two neighbours.

“We have warm relations with India. They invited me … though I am yet to fix the date,” he said.

About the other plans as the foreign minister, Momen said he would like to involve the expatriate Bangladeshis in the ongoing development endeavours of the country.

“I would like to involve the expatriates. They always want to work for Bangladesh development,” he said who spent many years in the USA as a Non-Resident Bangladeshi (NRB).

The minister said many NRBs are in good positions in different countries around the globe. “We would like to use their expertise and investment for our development,” he said.

Momen said he has already placed a proposal to utilize the expatriates’ experience and investment.

The foreign minister said he has already requested the expatriate welfare minister to take further steps for checking all sorts of harassments to NRBs.