PM expects Italy visit to mount pressure on Myanmar


DHAKA, Feb 19, 2018 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today described her recent visit to Italy and Vatican City as very successful particularly in mounting increased pressure on Myanmar for speedy repatriation of the Rohingyas.

“In overall consideration, I think my visit to Italy and Vatican City is very successful and fruitful . . . “It is expected that the pressure on Myanmar for repatriation of its forcibly displaced citizens from Bangladesh will be intensified further (with this visit),” she told a crowded press conference at Ganabhaban here this afternoon.

She said during her engagements during the visit she drew the global community’s enhanced support for increased succor for the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals ahead of the beginning of the upcoming monsoon and alongside global cooperation for their relocation to an island designated as their makeshift abode.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, road transport minister Obaidul Quaderand Information Minister Hasanul Haque Inu were present on the dais, while PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim moderated the press conference.

The prime minister said she visited the Vatican City on February 12 at the invitation of Pope Francis alongside attending the annual governing council meeting of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) in Rome on Feb 13 at the invitation of IFAD President Gilbert F Houngbo.

The premier said she presented the keynote speech in the meeting of IFAD, an international financial institution and a specialised UN agency dedicated to eradicate rural poverty in developing countries since its 1977 launching as an international financial institution.

The premier said the IFAD member countries shared their experience and held discussions about the steps to face the existing challenges in the agriculture sector, especially to improve the living standard of the small and medium farmers.

She said the meeting laid special emphasis on the cooperation based on investment and partnership for the youth development and more women empowerment.

Sheikh Hasina said the IFAD has been taking various programmes for the last 40 years for empowerment, poverty alleviation as well as development of food and nutrition security of Bangladesh’s rural people.

She recalled after its establishment IFAD took the very first project in Bangladesh and “so far provided grants of 782 million dollars and gave easy- term loans at low interest”.

The premier said her presence at the IFAD governing council meeting and presenting keynote speech has further strengthened Bangladesh’s partnership- based ties with IFAD.

Sheikh Hasina said in her keynote address she highlighted Bangladesh’s achievements and successes in the agriculture sector and focused on various steps of the government for the development of the rural youth force.

“I also pointed out the importance of investment to enhance the living standard of the poor and marginalized community as well as the the role of the local government in empowering the rural people,” she said.

The prime minister said in the speech she also highlighted the success of Bangladesh’s increasing food production and informed the world people of the outstanding power of the people of Bangladesh to adapt any situation and the food production that the Bangladeshi farmers are increasing.

“Side by side with giving highest importance to the agriculture in the national five-year plan, the sincere efforts of our government in implementing the SDG related to it were reflected in my speech,” she said.