South Korea has provided US$ 1.5 million to the UNHCR Bangladesh Office to support its activities in Cox’s Bazar under the 2020 Joint Response Plan(JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis.
Since the outbreak of the Rohingya crisis in 2017, the South Korean government has been closely working with the international community to resolve the refugee crisis, said the Korean Embassy in Dhaka on Sunday.
South Korea has provided the UNHCR Bangladesh Office with a total of US$ 4.2 million between 2017 and 2020 for its Rohingya refugee-related activities.
At the conference on Sustaining Support for Rohingya Refugee Response held on October 22, the Korean government expressed deep concerns over the Rohingya refugees; protracted humanitarian situation.
The South Korean government announced that this year it will provide more than US$ 10 million, which includes US$ 7.5 million for the work of the UN agencies under the Bangladesh Joint Response Plan, ASEAN, and the civil society, to help improve the humanitarian situation of the affected populations.
South Korea stated that it provided a total of US$ 17 million in humanitarian assistance from 2017 to 2019 to help protect the displaced persons and assist host communities.
The South Korean Embassy said Korea will continue to make its best effort to address the humanitarian crisis resulting from the Rohingya refugees in close cooperation with the Bangladesh Government and the international community.
Export and import between Bangladesh and India through Benapole land port remained suspended due to Kali Puja, a religious festival of the Hindu community, on Sunday.
Kartik Chakrawarty, general secretary of Benapole C&F Staff Welfare Association, said the trade activities between the two countries remained suspended since Sunday morning as there is a holiday on the Indian side due to Kali puja.
However, the internal activities at Benapole port here are normal.
Shahidul Islam, revenue officer of Benapole port, said the unloading activities and customs house activities will remain normal and the Indian truckers can go back after unloading goods.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday expressed his optimism over signing of Teesta water sharing deal with India saying it remains ready for signing since 2011.
"India frequently reiterates (its commitment) about it. It remains ready to be signed. I think it would be done," he told reporters at Rajshahi College but did not give any possible signing date.
He said the Teesta deal could not be signed due to India's internal reason.
Dr Momen said human resources and rivers are very important assets but it will be a curse for all if they cannot ensure best use of these.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh and India are working on 54 common rivers.
In October last year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina highlighted that the people of Bangladesh have been waiting to see the early signing and implementation of the framework of interim agreement for the sharing of Teesta waters as agreed upon by both governments in 2011.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed that his government is working with all stakeholders in India for the conclusion of the agreement at the soonest possible time, according to a 53-point joint statement that termed the relations between the two countries “a bond transcending strategic relationship”.
Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has conveyed his government's commitment to finding mutually acceptable solutions to all the issues with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh and India are in discussion to hold a Water Resources Secretary-level meeting in December before the Minister-level talks between the two countries on water issues, officials said.
The two countries expressed optimism to hold a Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) meeting this year to discuss water sharing of common rivers.
Dr Momen said the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will never sign any deal against interest of the country and its people but will enhance connectivity with India for a win-win situation for both.
"We will boost connectivity. We say connectivity is the productivity. We will boost connectivity on all fronts for development," the Foreign Minister said.
Responding to a question, Dr Momen said the government has planned to shift 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhasan Char for better living with economic opportunities for Rohingyas.
However, no date is fixed yet to relocate them from congested Cox's Bazar camps.
"We wanted to avoid risk of landslides and deaths in Rohingya camps," Dr Momen said.
He hoped the new US government under Biden administration will have stronger voice on Rohingya issue.
The Foreign Minister hoped to see growing trade and investment relations between Bangladesh and the US.
"I believe they will come on their own for win-win situation. Bangladesh is a land of opportunity," he said.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh and the US will speak in one voice on climate issues with increased assistance from the US.
Responding to a question, the Foreign Minister said GSP is not an important issue for Bangladesh as it does not matter in a big way. "It's not a big issue."
He, however, said the big issue is over 15 percent tariffs that the US government imposes on products from Bangladesh.
Read Also: Dhaka expects early signing of Teesta deal
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday expressed hope that the US President-elect Joe Biden will lend his voice to resolving the Rohingya crisis and provide support for the quick repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.
“Biden is a mature politician, new possibilities for working with the US in many aspects have emerged since his election,” Monem said.
The Minister came up with the remarks after visiting Rajshahi University (RU) in the afternoon.
Recently Myanmar also held elections, he said adding that “Now it’s time for Aung San Suu Kyi's government to erase their bad reputation globally by taking back the Rohingya people to their homeland.”
Human rights are being violated in Myanmar, hopefully the Biden-government will also be vocal in this regard, the Minister said.
“We are looking forward to building stronger ties with the United States as it always prioritizes human rights. Hopefully the government will not patronize any war or destruction and play a positive role to secure peace globally”, FM said.
At the same time diplomatic ties between Bangladesh and the USA will be enhanced, and the Biden government will help Bangladesh in different issues like trade and immigration, he hoped.
Last weekend Biden and vice presidential running mate Kamala Harris secured enough Electoral College votes to unseat President Donald Trump.
On November 7, several global US media outlets projected Biden as the winner of the 2020 presidential election.
But the Trump's administration's refusal to recognise Biden as the president-elect have caused speculation that the transition may not complete before the inauguration.
Bangladesh, China, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have vowed to strengthen information sharing and coordination of policies and actions to cope with the impact of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The five countries agreed that the autumn and winter seasons are a "crucial period" for COVID-19 containment.
The Chinese side said they are ready to step up cooperation with the other four parties in testing, diagnostics, treatment and medicine, and continue to provide them with assistance of containment supplies, according to Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
China has pledged that COVID-19 vaccine development and deployment in China, when available, will be made a global public good.
China says it is also ready to consider providing vaccines to developing countries positively, including the four countries.
On November 5, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between Serum Institute of India and Beximco Pharma of Bangladesh for priority delivery of 30 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine to Bangladesh.
To jointly defeat COVID-19, protect people's life, safety and health, and accelerate economic and social recovery and development, China, Bangladesh, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka held a vice ministerial-level video conference on COVID-19 response on November 10, according to Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In a spirit of mutual trust, openness and win-win cooperation, the five countries welcome other regional countries to join the cooperation against COVID-19 and are ready to engage in dialogue and communication with them, it said.
The five countries had "in-depth exchanges" on cementing the political consensus on jointly fighting COVID-19, enhancing cooperation on containing the coronavirus and restoring economic development and movement of people, and achieved positive results.
They agreed that humanity lives in a community with a shared future and solidarity and cooperation is the most effective weapon against COVID-19.
Xinhua File Photo
In the context of long-term COVID-19 containment, the five countries will uphold multilateralism, firmly support the World Health Organization in playing a leading role in the global fight against COVID-19, actively promote international cooperation on COVID-19 response, and push forward the building of a global community of health for all, said the statement issued by the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
The five countries reiterated their opposition to politicization and stigmatization by using COVID-19.
It is important to pursue science-based, professional exchanges on prevention and control of COVID-19 and its evolution and growth should be judged on the basis of objectivity, impartiality and scientific evidence, the statement reads.
The five countries agreed that countries linked by land ports should establish joint response mechanisms in border areas, said the Chinese MoFA.
Standard operating procedures will be developed on COVID-19-related notification, border control, containment measures at points of entry and emergency response to prevent cross-border transmission.
Pre-departure screening will be actively promoted to ensure the safe and orderly cross-border movement of people.
Each Party will provide necessary treatment to COVID-19 infected nationals of the other parties in accordance with its own capacity.
The five countries agreed on the importance of coordinating COVID-19 response and economic and social development and will advance Belt and Road cooperation to boost post-COVID-19 economic recovery and development.
China said efforts will be made to facilitate the orderly resumption of major cooperation projects and keep the industrial and supply chains stable.
Infrastructure connectivity under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative will be advanced at a faster pace, it said.
Smooth transportation of goods at border ports will be facilitated with sufficient containment measures in place.
The five countries agreed to keep up consultations on COVID-19 response, poverty alleviation and other non-traditional security issues of shared interest on an ad hoc basis, and explore the establishment of relevant working groups.