French Ambassador to Dhaka Jean-Marin Schuh has said Bangladesh and France have a bright future together despite the difficult times they are going through right now.
"More than common interests, we also share a common vision, especially regarding climate change, and we will work every day to strengthen our strategic partnerships in this changing world," the Ambassador said Monday.
In a message on the occasion of the French National Day, which will be celebrated on Tuesday, Ambassador Schuh said they, unfortunately, may never go back to “normal”, to their way of life as it was before COVID-19.
"But this unprecedented disruption can also be seen as an opportunity to emerge stronger from the crisis," he said adding that during the darkest times, they have learned that the actions of every individual are important.
In France, in Bangladesh and everywhere in the world, the social value of the medical staff has been made clear to all, said the Ambassador.
The importance of those carrying out essential roles, who selflessly continued their day-to-day duties to allow two countries to survive the crisis has to be reminded everyday, he said.
There are certain goods and services that must be placed outside the laws of the market, said the envoy.
Ambassador Schuh said the coming months and years will require decisions to be taken, and the governments will have to put healthcare and social protection at the centre of their policies to avoid another disaster.
"In such a context, the need for international collaboration is increasing, as no country can tackle this crisis alone," he said.
Ambassador Schuh said they cannot overcome such difficulties on their own, and it is by standing together that they will meet successfully this huge challenge.
He said the two countries have developed excellent relations since the early days of the fight for Independence led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971.
André Malraux, who fought for freedom during the civil war in Spain, lent him a strong support and now stands as a symbol of our friendship.
"Sustainable development is at the heart of our cooperation and the French Development Agency has been a strong pillar since the beginning," said Ambassador Schuh.
As Bangladesh is facing the dramatic socio-economic consequences of the pandemic, a concessional loan of 150-million euro will be provided to help the country, he said.
The Ambassador also mentioned successful cooperation regarding defense and security. "The visit of Florence Parly in March, our Ministry of Armed Forces, reaffirms our two countries mutual commitment to work side by side to strengthen the stability and the security of the region."
The Ambassador said they commemorate the storming of the Bastille in Paris on the 14th of July 1789.
"More than our National Day, we celebrate the universal values that come from the French revolution and that are at the core of who we are. Just as France, Bangladesh is a country where the word Freedom has a deep resonance, and I want us to remember that our friendship is also anchored in our existence as free Nations," he said.
On 14th of July, they celebrate their national day as it is their tradition, but in a nontraditional way.
"We are not hosting celebrations as we used to. All around the world, for the past four months, our countries have experienced major changes due the current pandemic," said the Ambassador.
He said all of them have been impacted, on different levels. "Some have to deal with grief, many have to deal with job loss, and all of us are longing for the day we will not have to worry anymore about our loved ones’ safety."