French position on Rohingya issue ‘clear’ as President Macron calls it 'genocide', says Pascal Lamy

French government’s Special Envoy Pascal Lamy says that Paris’s position on the Rohingya refugee crisis has ‘clearly’ been expressed by President Emmanuel Macron who has termed the attacks on Myanmar’s minority in Rakhine State as “genocide”.

Published : 7 Jan 2018, 01:54 PM
Updated : 7 Jan 2018, 01:59 PM

“France’s position is absolutely clear cut,” he said, adding that Paris is also active at all international level to put political pressure on Myanmar to stop the atrocities in the Rakhine State.

Lamy, two times former Director General of the World Trade Organisation or WTO, was speaking before the press at the French embassy in Dhaka on Sunday to seek Bangladesh’s support for the France’s candidature in the World Expo-2025.

Two close friends of Bangladesh, Japan and Russia, and another country Azerbaijan are also competing for the Expo which will be held just five years before the ending of the global agenda SDGs-2030.

Lamy, while briefing “comparative advantages” if Paris is voted for the Expo, said there are political and diplomatic aspects apart from economic benefits if Paris can host the Expo.

He said Bangladesh and France have excellent bilateral relations now and both countries are working closely at the international level.

The decades-old Rohingya crisis has taken an appalling turn since August 25 when Burmese military began crackdown in the Rakhine State following insurgents’ attacks on the police outposts.

Over 1 million Rohingyas are now living in Bangladesh. Both countries have signed a deal to start the repatriation process though Rohingyas are still coming to Cox’s Bazar where they took shelter from Rakhine State.

“We clearly said what we believe is that this is a terrible genocide and this should be ceased,” Lamy said, referring to the president of France.

World Expos, known officially as International Registered Exhibitions, are organised every five years. They can last up to six months, and international participants can build their own pavilions on the Expo site.

The most recent World Expo was held in the city of Milan, Italy, in 2015, under the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”.

The next World Expo will take place in Dubai (UAE) between 20 October 2020 and 10 April 2021 under the theme “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”.

The themes of World Expos are designed to raise awareness of and find responses to universal challenges of our time.

France’s theme is ‘knowledge to share, planet to care’ through which Lamy earlier told in an interview that Paris wants “to discuss how more efficiently we can address the climate change challenges through science and technology”.

“This is very much in line with medium and long-term strategies of Bangladesh which is also coping with environmental challenges,” he had said.

At the press briefing on Sunday, he said participation in Paris would be cost-effective for every country.

They are expecting to draw 40 million visitors which is much more than other countries bidding for the Expo.

“We offer larger visibility for a lower price,” he said.

He said the concept of global village is also a low cost concept and after the expo those will be used as university campus.

It will be located at Paris-Saclay, a research-intensive and business cluster currently under construction south of Paris.

He said the pavilion Bangladesh for the expo, can later be turned into a residence of Bangladesh students who will study in the university.

France has also selected a Bangladeshi student as one of the 100 global young ambassadors who will campaign for Paris throughout the period.

Md Monibur Rahman, a student of BBA, during the press briefing urged Bangladesh government to support France’s candidature.

“This will also benefit Bangladeshi students studying in Europe,” he said.

“Bangladesh is highly vulnerable to natural disasters and climate change, as a Bangladeshi I want Bangladesh to participate in the event and to vote for France so that France can host the Expo.

"Thus Bangladesh can discover how together we can protect our country from climate change,” he said.

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher