US, Bangladesh renew commitment to support safe, dignified return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar

Lalit K Jha

Washington, Jun 29 (PTI) The US and Bangladesh on Monday renewed their commitments to support the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar as Secretary of State Michael Pompeo spoke to his Bangladeshi counterpart Masud bin Momen.

During the call, Pompeo reaffirmed the importance of the US-Bangladesh relationship and discussed continued cooperation to address the COVID-19 pandemic, State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.

Pompeo and Momen reviewed the more than USD 43 million in COVID-19 assistance that the US has provided so far to Bangladesh and discussed Bangladesh's critical role in the international response to the pandemic by manufacturing emergency medical and protective supplies, Ortagus said.

Pompeo commended Momen for Bangladesh's continued generosity in hosting Rohingya refugees, she said.

The US so far has contributed nearly USD 820 million in humanitarian assistance for the Rohingya crisis, most of which is for programs within Bangladesh.

The two leaders also renewed commitments to support the voluntary, safe, dignified, and sustainable return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar.

Nearly one million Rohingya Muslims fled a crackdown by the Myanmarese military in 2017 in Rakhine state and are living in camps in Cox's Bazar in Bangladesh.

Pompeo and Momen also discussed the importance of 'transparency and access to information for long-term economic stability and sustainable development,” Ortagus said. PTI LKJ NSA