Cambodia and Bangladesh yesterday discussed the Rohingya crisis during the official visit of the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, to Cambodia.
Both Bangladesh and Myanmar have sought Cambodia’s support in the diplomatic crisis over the plight of refugees who have crossed into Bangladesh.
More than 600,000 Rohingya have fled mainly Buddhist Myanmar since the military launched a counter-insurgency operation in Rakhine state in August.
Last month, Cambodia voted against a United Nations draft resolution on the issue, a decision which Prime Minister Hun Sen said was based on the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of Myanmar.
The refugees topic came up at a press conference at the Peace Palace yesterday.
Mr Hun Sen said he appreciated Bangladesh’s actions in receiving about one million refugees from Myanmar even though Bangladesh had about 160 million of its own people to support.
“We also discussed the repatriation of refugees, and hope that Myanmar and Bangladesh will work together smoothly for their safe return to Myanmar,” he said.
Sheikh Hasina said her country would continue negotiations with Myanmar to resolve and repatriate the Rohingya, and she asked Mr Hun Sen for his support for a durable solution to the crisis.
Both sides signed 11 agreements and memorandums of understanding during Sheikh Hasina’s three-day visit, which ends today.
Official actions have included a joint communique to focus on trade and investment cooperation, with both sides pledging to boost cooperation and improve the relationship.
Cambodia will support Bangladesh’s wish to be a sectoral dialogue partner of Asean. Such partnerships do not involve full Asean membership but cover aspects of community-building within Asean.
Cambodia will also work with India to support Bangladesh’s bid to become a partner in the six-nation Mekong-Ganga Cooperation organisation which works in the areas of tourism, culture, education and transport. At the press conference, Mr Hun Sen described Sheikh Hasina as an elder sister who always supported Cambodia.
Both sides agreed to have roads named after historical figures.In the Bangladesh capital, Dhaka, a road will carry the name of name of King Norodom Sihanouk.
Phnom Penh will have a road named after Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who is considered the founding father of Bangladesh and who is the father of Sheikh Hasina.