Canada using all tools to help find solution, says envoy
Canada has said it is using all tools from its side, including sanctions, against Myanmar leaders and companies as well as diplomatic efforts to help find a solution to Rohingya crisis.
"We fully agree that the causes and solutions to the crisis lie in Myanmar, and this is why we're using all tools at our disposal to help," said Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit Prefontaine.
The high commissioner was addressing a symposium titled "Bangladesh-Canada Relations: Prognosis for Partnership" at a city hotel on Saturday. Cosmos Foundation organised the symposium.
Focusing on the bilateral issues between the two countries, the high commissioner said, "Bangladesh is a key partner of Canada because of its strategic geopolitical location, its multilateralism and zero tolerance to terrorism."
"Canada will continue to engage constructively with regional, bilateral and multilateral partners in driving positive action on global issues such as strengthening global peace and security operations," he added.
Appreciating Bangladesh's role towards the Rohingya refugees, he said Canada recognises the immense generosity that the people and government of Bangladesh have demonstrated in welcoming Rohingya refugees and in keeping their borders open to those seeking refuge.
"Canada was one of the first countries to respond to the crisis, and continues to be a top humanitarian donor," he said adding that Canada place crucial importance on addressing the urgent needs of crisis-affected populations in Cox's Bazar, both refugees and those living in the affected host communities."
High Commissioner Prefontaine said Canada has a long history of helping and welcoming refugees and their citizens deeply care about what the Rohingya and Cox's Bazar host communities are going through.
Taking part in the discussion, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said Bangladesh-Canada relations a trouble-free one which is growing on all fronts.
On prevention of terrorism, he said the security of Canada is linked to that of other states while everyone knows, preventing and responding to terrorism or transnational crime requires resources, expertise and partners.
He said Bangladesh is a "significant force" in South Asia and explained why Bangladesh matters today amid geopolitical realities and global initiatives like Indo Pacific Strategy, Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Eurasia.
Chairman of Cosmos Foundation Enayetullah Khan delivered the welcome speech at the symposium chaired by Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, the Principal Research Fellow at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, and former Foreign Affairs Adviser to Bangladesh's previous caretaker government.
Canada's commercial relationship with Bangladesh has grown significantly over the last 14 years and the value of bilateral merchandise trade has more than tripled from $600.5 million in 2004 to over $2.4 billion Canadian dollars in 2018, according to Canadian High Commission in Dhaka.