China has shown interest in importing several products including jute, leather and mangoes from Bangladesh, said Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud. He said this after a courtesy meeting with Chinese Ambassador Yao Wen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs at Segunbagicha in the capital on Sunday afternoon.
On the same day, he also met Nepal’s Ambassador Ghanshyam Bhandari and United Nations Bangladesh Coordinator Gwen Lewis. At this time, the ambassadors of China and Nepal handed over the congratulatory letters of the foreign ministers of their respective countries to Hasan Mahmud.
Later, the foreign minister said, ‘Our government is the elected government of the people of Bangladesh, the people’s government and we have excellent relations with all the countries that have diplomatic relations including India-Russia-China, United States-European Union-United Kingdom.’
Hasan Mahmud said, ‘China is our important development partner. From China we import more, export less. China has expressed interest in importing jute, leather, meat, sea-food, fish and mangoes from Bangladesh in talks to increase our exports. We can start exporting mangoes in July or August. China is a big market. There we have discussed the duty-free access of our goods.’
The foreign minister said that the repatriation of Rohingyas was discussed in the meeting and said, ‘Prime Minister gave shelter to the Rohingyas. Our people also opened their doors. But now the locals are the minority in Cox’s Bazar, the Rohingyas are more and there are many problems including security and drugs. We have said that the only solution is the repatriation of the Rohingyas to their own country Myanmar with full rights. China is working on this and has agreed to work towards repatriation. The internal hostile environment of Myanmar was also discussed.
Stating that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been invited to visit China, the minister said that discussions are underway for it to happen at a convenient time.
Hasan Mahmud said, ‘The UN Secretary General congratulated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her re-election in his letter and in his meeting with me in Kampala and praised her leadership to world leaders. But the statements made by the UN Human Rights Council are sometimes inconsistent with this. I discussed it with him.’
The foreign minister said, ‘The news they get from biased and wrong sources should not happen. I informed him that they get the information from verified sources and that the incident of 28th October, the burning of people by arson, the burning of sleeping people, did not come in the report of the United Nations Human Rights Council. The UN coordinator said he was looking into the matter.
Highlighting the issue of Rohingya repatriation, Foreign Minister Hasan said, ‘After the Ukraine war and later the Israeli invasion of Gaza, the international community has focused more on it. International aid to the Rohingya has also halved. I have said that the Rohingya issue should be in the spotlight of the international community. The UN coordinator said, an international working group is working on it in Geneva and a meeting on it is forthcoming.
The foreign minister said that people-to-people communication, increase in travel and trade expansion were discussed with the ambassador of Nepal, Ghanshyam Bhandari. He said, ‘Nepal is only 35 km away from our northern border. We already have an electricity import agreement with Nepal, a country that has the potential to produce 100,000 megawatts of hydropower, and the tariff is being negotiated.