Desk report, September 23: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday ruled out possibility of any political understanding with BNP, saying that nobody should come up with such a proposal.
“Those who are thinking about political understanding with the BNP should discard such thought,” she told a press conference at Bangladesh’s Permanent Mission in New York on Friday morning (this evening Bangladesh time).
She added: “No understanding could be reached with those who killed my parents . . . those who believe in the politics of terrorism and killing.”
The premier also accused BNP of making desperate attempts to destroy the country.
“I have no intention to bring back those in politics who are involved in the terrorism and killing. So nobody should propose for political understanding with BNP,” she said.
The press conference was convened to brief the media about the outcome of her participation in the ongoing 72nd session of the UN General Assembly.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Bangladesh’s Permanent Representative to the UN Masud Bin Momen were present at the presser, moderated by premier’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim.
The premier said though it was impossible for someone to reach any understanding with his or her parent’s killers “I tried to make understanding with the BNP leader before the 2014 election”.
Sheikh Hasina recalled that she made a phone call to Khaleda Zia and went to her office to console following her younger son’s death.
“But I was not allowed to enter the office,” she said.
Responding to a question on the influx of Rohingya refugees into Bangladesh, the premier said if the country could feed its 16 crore people, it could also feed 7or 8 lakh refugees.
“I have talked to Sheikh Rehana in this regard and she also expressed the same opinion,” Sheikh Hasina said.
On a question that whether any discussion was held with China and India about Rohingya issue, the premier said the diplomats of all countries including India and China visited the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar and everybody showed sympathy towards them.
“The internal matter of any country on the issue is not a matter of our consideration,” she said.
She also mentioned that India and China came forward and were sending relief materials to Bangladesh for the Rohingya refugees.
“They are extending all sorts of cooperation,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina mentioned that Myanmar has dispute with its five neighbouring countries.
Sheikh Hasina said her goal was to establish Bangladesh as a self-reliant and dignified country as “we want to move keeping our head high”.
“I may not exist forever. But I want to build Bangladesh in such a way so none could turn it into a beggar’s country,” she said.
Asked about possibilities of resuming Biman flight on Dhaka-New York route, the premier said the national flag carrier will restart its journey on the route when the international civil aviation authority’s condition would be fulfilled.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina said it’s BNP who destroyed Biman.
The prime minister described the steps her government has taken for the welfare of the expatriate Bangladeshis.
She said the government has no objection to enroll the Bangladeshis who are also US citizens as voters if the US laws permit it.
Responding to another question, the prime minister said the government has a plan to expand the Central Shaheed Minar in Dhaka by preserving memory of its architects Novera Ahmed and Hamidur Rahman.
Describing her participation in the UNGA as successful and fruitful, the premier said through this engagement brightened further Bangladesh’s image in the world due to its contribution to establishing peace, security and development.
Sheikh Hasina said in her address to the UNGA, she urged the United Nations and the international community to protect all civilians irrespective of religion and ethnicity in Myanmar’s Rakhine State and take immediate and effective measures for a permanent solution to the protracted Rohingya crisis.
She said, she made a five-point proposal to solve the Rohingya crisis suggesting the following actions:
First: Myanmar must unconditionally stop the violence and the practice of ethnic cleansing in the Rakhine State immediately and forever.
Second: Secretary General of the United Nations should immediately send a Fact-Finding Mission to Myanmar.
Third: All civilians irrespective of religion and ethnicity must be protected in Myanmar. For that “safe zones” could be created inside Myanmar under UN supervision.
Fourth: Ensure sustainable return of all forcibly displaced Rohingyas in Bangladesh to their homes in Myanmar.
Fifth: The recommendations of Kofi Annan Commission Report must be immediately implemented unconditionally and in its entirety.
Sheikh Hasina said she renewed her call to stop weapon supplying to the terrorists and terror financing and settlement of all international disputes peacefully as terrorism and violent extremism posed a major threat to peace, stability and development.
“Terrorism is a worldwide problem and I think these steps will have to be taken to solve the problem,” she said.
The prime minister said she reiterated her call to the international community to recognise the barbaric atrocities of Pakistani occupation force on the Bengalis in 1971 as “genocide” and March 25, 1971 as the “International Genocide Day”.
On the sidelines of the UNGA session, she said, she held bilateral meetings with the UN secretary general, the Dutch Queen, the presidents of Estonia and Kosovo, the prime ministers of Nepal and Bhutan, Indian foreign minister, the IMO director general, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, the WFP executive director and the IBM president.
“At the meetings, I highlighted the Rohingya problem before the international community and sought cooperation of all including the OIC to solve the problem,” the PM said.
While talking about her meeting with the UN secretary general, the prime minister said she requested Antonio Guterres to take effective initiatives in this regard.
At the talks, the UN secretary general highly praised Bangladesh for standing beside the Rohingya refugees during their bad time and assured on behalf of the world body of extending assistance whatever is necessary in this regard.