Bangladesh interested in ASEAN relations upgrade, taps Cambodia for help

Bangladesh sought Cambodia’s support in becoming an ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner and urged the Kingdom to help with bringing about a solution regarding the repatriation of Rohingya to Myanmar.

Abdul Momen, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, made the requests during his meeting with his Cambodian counterpart Prak Sokhonn on July 15 on the second day of his three day official visit to the Kingdom to strengthen bilateral relations and cooperation.

“In the ASEAN framework, Foreign Minister Abdul Momen sought Cambodia's support, as the ASEAN chair this year, for Bangladesh's bid to become an ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner,” said the press statement of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation on July 15.

Sokhonn responded to Momen by assuring him of Cambodia’s support, but he underlined that the process requires passing the ASEAN Secretariat’s assessment and consensus among all ASEAN member states.

On the issue of the Rohingya who are currently in Bangladesh after being displaced from Myanmar’s Rakhine State due to conflict with Myanmar’s military, Momen asked Cambodia to help with bringing about a sustainable solution for their “speedy, safe and dignified repatriation”.

Momen said Bangladesh wishes to see the first repatriations occur during Cambodia’s ASEAN chairmanship, meaning this year.

Sokhonn said that the ASEAN chair was aware of this issue and paying attention to it, but stressed that its solution would depend mainly on solving Myanmar’s crisis broadly. He said Cambodia has endeavoured to implement ASEAN’s 5 Point Consensus (5PC).

The two foreign ministers also exchanged information and experiences regarding the process of national reconciliation, peace building and socio-economic development in their respective countries and shared a common understanding about the importance of peace and stability as the preconditions for development.

“Foreign Minister Abdul Momen praised the high turnout of more than 80 per cent in the recent Commune or Sangkat Councils election, assessing that it was conducted in a ‘free and fair’ manner,” the statement said.