Geneva: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Wednesday requested President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset to encourage his country’s businesses to invest more in Bangladesh taking advantage of new opportunities.
The prime minister made the request during her call on the Swiss president at the bilateral meeting room in Palais des Nations.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen briefed reporters after the meeting. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and PM’s speech writer M Nazrul Islam were also present.
Momen said that the trade and business between Bangladesh and Switzerland is good.
“Recently, we are doing good business with Switzerland. We are doing almost one billion dollars’ worth of business. We are exporting goods to Switzerland, mainly RMG items,” he said.
PM Hasina urged Switzerland to continue LDC facilities to Bangladesh for additional three years after its graduation in 2026.
PM’s speech writer quoted Hasina as telling the Swiss leader that after the assassination of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman she had to lead life as a refugee.
She also briefly described her struggle for establishing democracy, right for vote and food in Bangla-desh.
“I am working to fulfill my father’s dream of building Bangladesh as a developed and prosperous coun-try,” she said.
Responding to a question Momen said that Myanmar has historically expelled Rohingyas several times.
They did it in the 70s, … in the 80s, and in the 90s. Later they took them back. This time they also ex-pelled 11 lakh Rohingyas who have taken refuge here in Bangladesh, he said.
The minister said that Myanmar government has promised to take them back and will protect them.
“They have also made arrangements so that the Rohingyas can live there well. The environment will be suitable. But it’s been six years. They still haven’t taken the Rohingyas,” he added.
He said that the priority of Bangladesh is to send them back.
In this connection, he mentioned that Rohingyas also want to return to their homeland.
“We cannot keep them. We continue our efforts to return them,” he said.
Momen quoted PM Hasina as requesting President Berset to supplement Bangladesh’s efforts to send Rohingyas to their homeland.
“Myanmar agreed to take them back, if you push them a little there will be a solution,” she said adding that their future is depending on going back to their homeland.
The foreign minister said that Rohingyas fear that they will be killed if they go, but this fear is wrong as at present there are six lakh Rohingyas in there.
President Berset assured Bangladesh that his country would continue its support to Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue.
In a separate meeting with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Filippo Grandi at the meeting room of Hotel President PM Hasina asked the agency to create conducive environment in Myanmar so that Rohingyas could return to their homeland.
In this regard, Hasina said that recently some Rohingyas went to their homeland and expressed their sat-isfaction.
“The process (of returning) should start,” she said.
In reply, Grandi said that they are trying. He said that they have access in Myanmar, but they have limi-tations.
“We will try to improve environment in Myanmar,” he said.
He also reiterated UNHCR’s stance to support Bangladesh to send back Rohingyas to their homeland.
Later, Prince Rahim Aga Khan also called on the prime minister.