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Bangladesh - March 22, 2023

Bangladesh is close to everyone: PM

Staff Correspondent: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said Bangladesh is close to everyone, not only to any particular country.
“We’re close to everybody – China, USA or India. Those who support our development, we’re with them,” she said in an interview with the US-based Cable News Network (CNN) aired yesterday.
The premier made this remark when CNN journalist Richard Quest said that the USA believes and is concerned that Bangladesh is getting too close to China.
Sheikh Hasina said China is a development partner of Bangladesh. China is investing here and they are doing some construction. “That’s all. We’re not dependent on anybody,” she said.
When her attention was drawn to Bangladesh’s stance about avoiding Chinese debt trap, the PM said “We’re very much careful about taking loans for development.”
She said Bangladesh takes most of the loans from different institutions like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank. “So, our Chinese loan is very low. It is not like Sri Lanka or any others,” she said.
The PM said her government always considers the return and the benefit of the people before taking any development project.
“Another thing is that we always try our best to develop our country with our own resources. We don’t take any unnecessary loans or big projects. We always consider from which project we can get return and our people will be benefited,” she said.
The first episode of the interview was aired in the early hours of Tuesday with the final episode to be on air soon.
Bangladesh never supports any invasion: PM
The prime minister said Bangladesh never supports any kind of invasion, rather believes in a peaceful solution through dialogues.
“We believe in a peaceful solution, if there is any conflict it can be solved through dialogue. But we never support any kind of invasion or conflict,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh’s foreign policy is very clear, “Friendship to all, malice to none.” And Bangladesh follows the policy. “So, when we see any human rights violation or invasion, we definitely oppose it,’’ she said.
She asked the global community to come forward to stop this war in Ukraine. ‘’I feel that the world should come forward to stop the war. Because, the common people are suffering,” she added.
She said a war can’t be placed by one side. But it needs involvement from both sides. “I believe, each country has its own rights to live in their own territory (with freedom) and protect their own territory,” she added.
On the question of Rohingyas the premier said Bangladesh has called upon the international community to exert pressure on Myanmar to bring their nationals back to their country.
She said this replying to a question about what Bangladesh needs from the international community to deal with the Rohingya crisis.
Hasina said Bangladesh also started a dialogue with Myanmar. But unfortunately, they are not responding properly.
She said her government had already talked to China, ASEAN countries, Japan, the USA and others countries and requested them to put pressure on Myanmar to take their nationals back.
“Unfortunately, the Myanmar government is not listening to anybody. That is the problem,” she said.
The PM said Bangladesh had given shelters to the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds.
She said the Rohingya (12 lakh) are becoming a “big burden” for Bangladesh as it has to feed them alongside ensuring their basic rights despite the fact that the country is overpopulated.
“I have to feed them (Rohingyas). I have to ensure their basic needs,” she said.

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