EU ministers laud Bangladesh’s progress, development
08 November 2015, Nirapad News: During the meeting with Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali, European Ministers appreciated sustained progress in Bangladesh, particularly in terms of disaster management, climate change adaptation and resilience, basic health care.
The minster held the discussions with his European counterparts at the sidelines of the 12th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) on 5-6 November 2015 in Luxembourg, said press release of Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
During the discussions, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, German Foreign Minister Frank Walter Steinmeier, Belgian Foreign Minister (Deputy Prime Minister) Didier Reynders, Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn, Dutch Foreign Minister Bert Koenders, Swedish Foreign Minister Ms. Margot Wallström also discussed various issues of mutual interest.
At the meeting, the Foreign Minister also extended invitation to his Belgian and Luxembourg counterparts to visit Bangladesh, which they welcomed.
Luxembourg expressed their keenness to conclude an Air Service Agreement with Bangladesh, which could be mutually beneficial while Belgium expressed their interest on further development of port and energy infrastructure in Bangladesh.
The two Ministers also discussed situation in Bangladesh’s neighbourhood when Mahmood Ali apprised them of various initiatives at bilateral and sub-regional level, including the connectivity initiatives like BBIN, BCIM-EC in which Bangladesh has been an active member.
The foreign minister also apprised the Ministers of the burgeoning manufacturing and knowledge-intensive industries, including pharmaceuticals, shipbuilding, IT and ITES in which Bangladesh is moving ahead under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Drawing on the Government’s effort to launch as many as one hundred Economic Zones to thrust planned and sustainable industrialization, he invited his counterparts from industrialized countries to explore potential investment opportunities as well as to take advantage of Bangladesh being a strategic production-logistic–manufacturing hub in the sub-region and beyond.
He also dwelt on the growth of Bangladesh value-added agriculture and in health sector, which offer opportunities for European SMEs to engage and invest in Bangladesh.
During the meeting with the EU Representative Mogherini, the Foreign Minister apprised her of democratic institutions building and various measures taken by Bangladesh Prime Minister and the Government on tackling counter terrorism and violent extremism in Bangladesh.
They also discussed to strengthen the dialogue process with the EU.
The delegation of Lithuania met the Foreign Minister and conveyed that their interest to launch a research publication to demonstrate considerable similarities between Bangla and Lithuanian languages.
The Foreign Minister welcomed the initiative and proposed for its launching during the 2016 Ekushey Boi Mela in Dhaka.
Foreign Minister also conveyed Bangladesh Prime Minister’s keenness to invite the Lithuanian President, which the Lithuanian side readily welcomed.
At the Retreat of the Foreign Ministers, Mahmood Ali said that resolute determination of the political leadership between Bangladesh and South Asia is the key to tackle violent extremism.
He also sought support and understanding of the friendly countries.
He said, being a victim of terrorism, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina affirms zero tolerance to any form of terrorism, including financing of terrorism, radicalization and violent extremism, nationally and internationally.
The minister further said that Bangladesh has significantly curbed terrorists’ activities through concerted actions within the neighbourhood.
Underlining the complexities of violent extremism, he emphasized on whole-of-society mobilization across countries.
He pointed to robustness and development of legal, regulatory mechanism and effective institutions, the National Coordination Mechanism chaired by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, innovative de-radicalization initiatives and Information-Education-Communication initiatives and collaboration with wider civil society and new media as features of Bangladesh’s endeavors in tackling violent extremism.
Regarding migration and refugees issues, the minister said the issues also need concerted regional and international responses.
There is also need to address the root causes of both regular and irregular migration, he added, ‘We must also take resolute steps in countering smuggling and trafficking in persons, especially with a gender perspective, as women victims suffer disproportionately more.’
Foreign Minister stated that Bangladesh has been tackling the problem of the presence of Rohingya refugees and undocumented Rohingya peoples.
‘We have taken back confirmed Bangladeshis who were victims of human trafficking from Myanmar and also from camps in Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia.’