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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Bangladesh, France sign LoI on defence cooperation

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Bangladesh and France have signed a Letter of Intent (LoI) on defence cooperation as the two countries stated their will to further develop the defence and security component of their partnership.

“Yes, we did it [signed it]. However, it relates to training and technology transfer,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told UNB.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and French President Emmanuel Macron had a bilateral meeting on Tuesday and discussed the issues of mutual interest and cooperation.

To that end, the two countries agreed to strengthen dialogue and continue their cooperation, particularly in the area of training, which was launched during this visit.

They committed to stepping up cooperation in the area of defence equipment based on the needs expressed and each party’s ability to respond to them, including through capacity building and potential technology transfer in this regard, according to a joint statement.

At the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is making an official visit to France from November 9.

The high-level discussions covered, among other issues, elevating bilateral relations, the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties which both countries will celebrate next year and major international and regional issues.

Both sides recalled the historic leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Bangladesh acknowledged the valuable support of the government and people of France during the War of Liberation in 1971.

The two sides also discussed geopolitical and security issues in the Indo-Pacific region.

France and Bangladesh shared the same vision for a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific region, based on international law and with shared prosperity for all.

Taking note of the French and European strategies concerning the Indo-Pacific, both parties agreed to work towards promoting regional peace and stability and explore further opportunities for cooperation in maritime security and the blue economy.

Highlighting their commitment to fully observing the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea as well as the peaceful settlement of disputes, refraining from any threat or use of force, they stated the importance of maintaining security and freedom of navigation and overflight in all seas and oceans.

Bangladesh and France once again reaffirmed that terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, is one of the most serious threats to global peace and security and that all terrorist acts are criminal and unjustifiable.

Both countries, therefore, jointly express their support for counter-terrorism efforts and agreed to enhance their cooperation, including under the aegis of the United Nations.

France and Bangladesh would like to increase their cooperation and dialogue with a view to actively contributing towards strengthening connectivity in South Asia in order to facilitate exchanges between Europe and Asia, and promote sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Welcoming the work of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on connectivity as well as the European approach to global connectivity, both countries stressed the importance of continuing economic projects based on the principles of fair competition, transparency, economic, financial, environmental and social sustainability and mutual benefit, taking into account the principles, objectives and targets of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and relevant G20 documents.

France commended Bangladesh on being recommended by the United Nations to graduate from the Least Developed Country category in 2026.

Acknowledging Bangladesh’s submission of the National Plan of Action on the Labour Sector to the European Union, France stressed the need for its comprehensive implementation and encouraged Bangladesh to pursue its export-led growth and economic diversification, including by leveraging the appropriate trade preferences under the European Union’s GSP Regulations.

Both countries underlined their commitment to liberalizing and facilitating trade and investment and their commitment to the role of the World Trade Organization.

They expressed their wish to strengthen their cooperation in improving the global governance mechanism and stimulating sustainable economic recovery and growth from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Both countries expressed their determination to strengthen economic, trade and investment cooperation and continue their shared efforts to improve market access for their respective companies.

They reaffirmed their desire to strengthen long-term economic and industrial partnership, including in the sectors of agriculture, infrastructure, transport, energy and digital technology.

Taking into account the priorities expressed by Bangladesh to develop the aeronautic and aerospace sectors, both counties expressed their support to a closer cooperation and new opportunities in these sectors.

France took note of Bangladesh’s pursuit of a knowledge-based economy and both sides agreed to explore enhanced cooperation in science, technology and innovation.

France and Bangladesh reiterated the central role of the United Nations in international peace and security, and highlighted the importance of promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with the goals and principles of the Charter of the United Nations.

Bangladesh, which is one of the main contributors to United Nations peacekeeping operations, and France, which also contributes to PKOs, agreed to maintain their cooperation in this area, including specific francophone contexts.

Both countries recalled their commitment to the objectives and principles pursued by all United Nations agencies, including Unesco, a forum in which both countries actively cooperate.

France and Bangladesh welcomed the growth of their friendship, and highlighted their shared will to develop and deepen all aspects of their partnership through regular political consultations for strategic guidance.

The two countries reiterated their determination to enhance cooperation in all areas, including politics and diplomacy, defence and security, trade and investment, sustainable development and climate change, and education and cultural exchange.

They also recognized the importance of sustained and substantive cooperation in relevant regional and multilateral fora.

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