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Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh
19 November 2017
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The European Union and its Member States are delivering more than half of the total financial support to the Rohingya refugees, and we will continue to support them, as well as the Government of Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh. We are aware of the difficult situation that the local communities and Bangladesh are facing. They are hosting such a big number of traumatised people that have been travelling here, carrying with them terrible stories, especially women and children – extremely young children. I believe that the Bangladeshi people and government are showing an enormous amount of respect and I would say that they carry the honour of humanity in hosting the refugees in this manner.
So we will continue to support them. We will continue to look at ways to mobilise the international community’s support; we just co-chaired, as the European Union, the international donor’s conference mobilising further financial support and we will continue to lead the work of the donor community because we believe that human dignity and peoples’ lives – especially of children and women – has to be protected, always.
Seeing so many very young children taking care of even younger children is what strikes me the most. And this means that really we have to take care of entire generations: women of just twenty years old who have already experienced all the worst that life can bring.
It is, I think, a responsibility of the authorities to find solutions. Again, the international community has indicated some of the solutions, especially the Kofi Annan plan that Aung San Suu Kyi has committed to implement, and we are there to support her in doing this.
So we will continue to do this, but even more than that, we will travel tonight to Myanmar for a ministerial meeting [the 13th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) of Foreign Ministers] with our Asian colleagues, together also with other Foreign Ministers of the European Union, that will be also an occasion to exchange views with Aung San Suu Kyi and the government of Myanmar on how to solve this crisis, because it is clear that while we work on the immediate humanitarian needs, we have to help them to find a solution.
The Bangladesh government is negotiating with the Government of Myanmar. We would support these negotiations, encourage them, and help find a sustainable solution, a humane solution and a dignified solution for them. We will discuss this tomorrow morning with Aung San Suu Kyi, and we hope that we will manage to help to find a sustainable solution.
It is a matter of encouraging the leadership and the government, and starting from Aung San Suu Kyi, to implement what they have expressed as intentions, for instance starting to implement the Kofi Annan report. Aung San Suu Kyi has shown willingness to do so. We know very well that she doesn’t have an easy situation in the country. She needs our support to do that, consistently and we can support in implementing that plan, if the political will translates into real action. So more than putting pressure, I would say that our approach has always been, and will continue to be, to offer a negotiating space, encourage the taking care of the situation that is not going to disappear. So it is, I think, a responsibility of the authorities to find solutions. Again, the international community has indicated some of the solutions, especially the Kofi Annan plan that Aung San Suu Kyi has committed to implement, and we are there to support her in doing this.
Link to the video: http://ec.europa.eu/avservices/video/player.cfm?ref=I146987