President M Abdul Hamid today sought the cooperation of Belgium to accomplish a safe, peaceful and dignified repatriation of the displaced Rohingya people to their Rakhine state homeland in Myanmar.
The President sought the support when the visiting Belgium Queen Mathilde paid a courtesy call on him at Bangabhaban here this evening.
Welcoming the Queen at Bangabhaban, he said Bangladesh deeply values its relations with Belgium, President's press secretary Md Joynal Abedin told BSS later.
Recalling with gratitude that Belgium was one of the first European countries to recognize Bangladesh in February 1972, he said since then, Belgium has been a steady supporter and partner in "our socio-economic developmental journey."
Belgium has been providing continuous assistance to Bangladesh and this assistance is increasing day by day, the President mentioned.
Referring to completion of 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Belgium in 2022, Hamid said, "This landmark occasion gave us the opportunity to explore avenues to further widen and deepen our cooperation for the benefit of our two peoples."
Raising the Rohingya issue he told the Queen that since the last five years, Bangladesh has been sheltering more than 1.1 million forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals (Rohingyas) who fled Myanmar due to persecution by the Myanmar military and security forces.
"Not a single Rohingyas could go back to their country yet as the Myanmar Government has done nothing to create the appropriate conditions for their return," the President said, calling the Rohingyas a big burden for Bangladesh.
The head of state urged Belgium and international development agencies to take appropriate step so that the Rohingyas can return to their country in a dignified manner.
During the meeting, Queen Mathilde praised the socio-economic development of Bangladesh.
On the Rohingya issue, she said Bangladesh has undoubtedly shown humanity by sheltering the forcibly displaced Rohingyas.
During the meeting, Minister of Information and Broadcasting Dr Hasan Mahmud, Ambassador of Belgium to Bangladesh Didier Vanderhasselt, secretaries concerned to the Bangabhaban and the ministry of foreign affairs were present.