Dhaka 20 October 2017 (Message received from Istanbul, Thursday, 20 October 2017)
Rohingya crisis surfaced as one of the prominent issues in the 9th D-8 Summit held in Istanbul on 20 October 2017 which kicked off at 1000 hrs. this morning with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in the Chair. D-8 member states terming it as an ethnic cleansing, assured of their political and humanitarian support for a durable solution. President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan as D-8 Chair thanked Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and the Government of Bangladesh for opening hearts and borders for the forcibly displaced Rohingyas, and commendable role and efforts for a solution to the problem. He spoke passionately on the Rohingya issue at least three times, and every time deeply appreciated Bangladesh’s admirable role and initiative to shelter them. He wished Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina good health.
The President of Turkey emphasizing on the need for political stability in Myanmar, and assured of its maximum support for the Rohingyas and their host Bangladesh, particularly in OIC and UN. He called upon all to share the huge burden of Bangladesh. He expressed interest in building shelters for Rohingyas along with establishment of field hospitals, health camps etc.
The Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi of Malaysia recalled his recent visit to Bangladesh, and stressed on further mobilizing international support to address the crisis. Among others, the First Vice President of Iran also acclaimed the humane approach of Bangladesh and reassured of their support. The implementation of Anan Commission Report was also stressed by the leaders.
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam, MP led a six member Bangladesh delegation to the D-8 Summit. The State Minister in his statement, appreciated the D-8 members’ active support in regard to the Rohingyas under existential crisis. He briefed the D-8 members on Bangladesh’s “open door policy” towards the dispossessed Rohingyas and emphasized on the five point formula presented by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the last UNGA for bringing a lasting solution, which is sustainable return and repatriation of the displaced and dispossessed community to their homeland Rakhine in full rights and security, including Myanmar citizenship. Thanking the D-8 members, he sought their continued support for an action oriented UN Security Council resolution to bring an early resolution of the crisis.
The 9th D-8 Summit has been held on the theme “Expanding Opportunities through Cooperation”. Pointing out slow progress of the Organisation of the eight most populous Muslim countries of one billion people, the State Minister stressed the need for D-8 to enter a new phase of concrete initiatives and projects to bring tangible outcome through intensified economic cooperation by using synergies and complementarities of D-8 economies. He stressed trade and investment cooperation and called for full implementation of D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with deeper concessions on a wide basket of tradable products which Bangladesh was going to join. He also emphasized greater role and involvement of the private sectors, and SMEs. He also stressed the importance of D-8 joint action in all six priority areas following different models of format of cooperation including PPP.
The Summit adopted two outcome documents: D-8 Istanbul Declaration 2017, and the D-8 Istanbul Plan of Action 2017. Bangladesh Minister believed that the two documents would set the stage for future course of action with predictable D-8 policies, practicable plans and result based projects. He underscored the need for a D-8 development or project support fund with arrangement of funding from external sources of multilateral institutions and banks. Mention may be made that immediately after the Summit D-8 and IDB signed an MoU on such cooperation.
The State Minister gave two TV and radio interviews wherein he briefed the Anadolu Agency and TRT World on the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh’s development course under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh-Turkey relations, and D-8 cooperation and prospects.
The Meeting was attended by President of Turkey, Nigeria, Azerbaijan, Guinea, Prime Minister of Pakistan, Vice President of Indonesia, Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia, First Vice President of Iran, and Vice Foreign Minister of Egypt along with the Foreign Ministers of most of the member states.