January 19, 2021, 4:07 am

FT Online

2019-07-09 15:23:20 BdST

Hasina slams US congressman’s proposal to attach Rakhine state with Bangladesh

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has denounced the proposal by a US congressman to bring the Rakhine State in Myanmar under Bangladesh's territory, calling it an attempt 'to start a fire in the region'.

She made the remarks at a media briefing in Ganabhaban on Monday following her five-day official visit to China.

Over 1.1 million Rohingya people have taken refuge in Bangladesh to escape persecution in the Rakhine State. The refugees have since voiced concerns over their safety as plans for their repatriation are mooted.

Amid the ongoing crisis, US Congressman Bradley Sherman has proposed attaching the Rakhine state with Bangladesh in a bid to resolve the matter.

Asked about the proposal, the prime minister said, "It's never right to create troubles inside a sovereign country. And the issue they've touched upon is already a burning one. There hasn't been any peace wherever they have stepped in but instead, it has led to militancy and unrest."

"We are trying to bring peace to this region. But they are trying to start a fire here. This isn't acceptable."

She continued: "We have our borders and we are happy with it. We completely disagree with adding another country's territory to ours. We will never take it."

Bangladesh has been seeking the support of the international community to press for the repatriation of Rohingya refugees.

Hasina said, "Sherman should instead urge Myanmar to take back its citizens. That would be a humanitarian act. And they should also look into all the human rights violations."

The prime minister also highlighted the talks she held with China's President Xi Jinping and Prime Minister Li Keqiang on the Rohingya issue. She added that the issue of Rohingya repatriation was high on the agenda during her meeting with Xi.

Hasina said, "Bangladesh is currently sheltering 1.1 million Rohingyas, which is a big challenge for the country in terms of its environment and security. I have asked the president to use China's 'good will' to ensure the return of Rohingyas to their homeland."

"The Chinese president believes the Rohingya refugees are a big problem for Bangladesh and assured us that China will work on resolving the issue."

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