Dhaka, Feb 20 (UNB) - Austrian Foreign Minister Dr Karin Kneissl on Wednesday appreciated the “impressive development and amazing achievements” that Bangladesh witnessed over the last one decade and assured to remain a stronger partner of Bangladesh in its development journey.
“We discussed our bilateral relations. We’re delighted to work together,” Dr Karin, who came to Bangladesh with a big delegation, told reporters after her meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at state guesthouse Meghna.
The Austrian expert team, accompanying the Minister, explored ways to boost cooperation between Austria and Bangladesh in various potential areas.
Foreign Minister Dr Momen said he is hopeful of establishing direct air connectivity between Dhaka and Vienna concluding the proposed Air Services Agreement soon that will help create more avenues of cooperation with enhanced trade relations.
He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has outlined certain roadmaps to reach development goals and Bangladesh needs more investment, technology transfer and better trade relations with other countries.
“They’ve (Australian FM and her team) come here to help us as a partner,” Dr Momen said adding that Bangladesh wants to have Austria’s expertise in educational learning, power generation, renewable energy and skill development; and they agreed to support Bangladesh.
The Austrian Foreign Minister highly appreciated the tremendous efforts of Bangladesh government and its people to provide humanitarian support to Rohingyas.
She said Austria is working with the European Union in its efforts for resolving the Rohingya crisis and mentioned that the EU remains serious about the cause.
Sharing their own experience, the Austrian Foreign Minister said they in a similar situation as they also have welcomed refugees. “We know the burden it has on the society.”
During the talks, the two Foreign Ministers discussed various bilateral issues including cooperation between the two countries in vocational training, agriculture, e-learning and renewable energy sectors.
Rohingya issue was discussed with due importance and Austria promised to do its part through the EU, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Foreign Minister Dr Karin and her delegation are scheduled to lay floral wreath at central Saheed Minar in the first hour of Amar Ekushey.
Kamrul Ahsan, Secretary (Bilateral & Consular), Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammed Abu Zafar, Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to Austria and Mohammad Khorshed Alam Khastagir, Director General (West Europe and EU) were part of Bangladesh Foreign Minister’s delegation at the talks.
Austrian Foreign Minister was joined by Brigitte Oppinger-Walchshofer, Austrian Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Alexander Marschik, Director General at the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs, Gabriele Meon-Tschurtz, Minister Plenipotentiary, Director at the Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs and Stephan Heisler, Minister Plenipotentiary, Office of the Federal Minister for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.
Dhaka, Feb 19 (UNB) - Bangladesh and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) on Tuesday held the first-ever foreign office consultations (FOC) between the two countries in Abu Dhabi and underscored the need for working together at official levels to materialise the cooperation activities through meaningful engagements.
Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque led the Bangladesh delegation while the UAE delegation was led by Khalifa Shaheen Al-Marar, Assistant Foreign Minister for Political Affairs of the UAE.
The meeting was held in a cordial and friendly atmosphere on the sidelines of the bilateral visit of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the UAE, said the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Both delegations took stock of the whole gamut of bilateral relations between the two countries and exchanged views on issues of mutual concern in regional and international arena.
They expressed satisfaction for the excellent understanding and relations at the highest political level between the two countries, which was taken to a new height by the ongoing visit of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the UAE.
Increased economic cooperation between the two countries through expansion of trade and investment and cooperation in the manpower sector was highlighted during the discussions.
The UAE side hailed the signing of the MoUs towards increased investment in Bangladesh and informed that relevant agencies of their government is working towards streamlining and opening the sector for Bangladeshi nationals.
The meeting was followed by the official lunch offered by the UAE Assistant Minister in honour of the Bangladesh delegation.
The next consultations would be held in Dhaka.
Dhaka, Feb 19 (UNB) - Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko Abe on Tuesday sought a safe and conducive investment environment in Bangladesh and requested to continue ensuring the safety of Japanese people in Bangladesh.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam narrated security measures undertaken by the law enforcement agencies in Bangladesh to protect Japanese project sites and personnel.
The issue came up for discussion in official talks between the two sides held at state guesthouse Meghna. Issues of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Japan were discussed.
The Japanese state minister said Japan will continue its support to Bangladesh in its bilateral efforts to repatriate Rohingyas to Myanmar.
Toshiko Abe is paying a two-day visit to Bangladesh to reiterate Japan’s efforts in resolving Rohingya crisis, said the Foreign Affairs Ministry.
Shahriar expressed the hope that the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (Big-B) Initiative will accelerate cooperation for development of quality infrastructure and the investment environment in Bangladesh and will strengthen regional connectivity.
He requested to include Bangladesh as a source country for recruitment of workers under Japan’s new immigration law.
Toshiko Abe reiterated commitment of Japanese humanitarian assistance for temporary sheltering of Rohingyas in Bangladesh and continued support for safe and voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar and their resettlement.
Shahriar underscored the need of practical steps from Myanmar authorities so that Rohingyas feel safe to return to their homeland.
Dhaka, Feb 19 (UNB) – The United Kingdom has reaffirmed its commitment to help resolve the Rohingya crisis saying that the right of these displaced people’s return to their place of origin in Myanmar’s Rakhine State must remain high on international agenda.
“We must make sure that Rohingyas’ right to return remains high on the international agenda,” said Penny Mordaunt, British Secretary of State for International Development and Minister for Women and Equalities.
While talking to a select group of journalists, including the UNB correspondent, the British Minister laid emphasis on unceasing joint efforts to protect both Rohingyas and the host communities here.
British High Commissioner in Dhaka Alison Blake was also present at the interaction held at the residence of the High Commissioner in the city.
Mordaunt, the first UK cabinet minister to visit Bangladesh since the December-30 elections, met Rohingyas living in Kutupalong camp at a food distribution centre, spoke to women being protected from violence, and saw how children with disabilities were getting the therapy and treatment they need, all supported by UK aid.
The plight of the Rohingyas must not be forgotten, she said during her second visit to Cox’s Bazar on Monday.
Since 25 August 2017, UK aid from British taxpayers has provided £129 million in funding to the Rohingya crisis and Mordaunt’s visit focused on exploring longer-term solutions by supporting education, developing skills and improving access to training opportunities.
During her meetings here, Mordaunt said she would push for the changes needed in Myanmar to help the Rohingyas return to their homes.
But, she said, now is the time to look beyond short-term live-saving assistance support, to give them the skills they need to create sustainable lives -- both for themselves and their families.
Minister Mordaunt said they will continue working to make sure that the conditions for people to go back are there in Rakhine and keep building national resilience to respond to weather events in Bangladesh.
She said they want to see Rohingyas’ desire to return home is fulfilled but the return requires favorable environment in Rakhine and elsewhere to ensure that they can live in peace and security; and the human rights issues are upheld.
Responding to a UNB question, the British Minister said the UK has been and will remain so absolutely at the forefront of those efforts.
She said they will continue focusing on the efforts to try and get required conditions in Myanmar apart from addressing accountability issue. “It’s extremely important.”
Asked how the UK can help implement Bangladesh’s proposal to create a safe zone in Rakhine State, the Minister said they, like Bangladesh, clearly want to see the Rohingya crisis is resolved.
“I think whether it’s any kind of zone, camp or anything, that is back on the other side of the border, we need to ensure that the conditions are right before anyone can go back,” Minister Mordaunt said adding that it is not just human rights issue but it is also a very practical issue.
Because, she explained, the last thing they want is for Rohingya people to start returning but they will feel insecure if there is more violence. “We’ll do everything we can to try and ensure that those (required) conditions (for return) are met.”
Responding to another question, the British Minister said access is incredibly important to Rakhine State and that is something they have been calling for. “It’s important as we want to see what’s happening there (on the ground). We’re very concerned about the continuing violence.”
The British Minister laid emphasis on building confidence among Rohingyas saying it is really important.
On environmental impact, she said there are some areas of concerns and clearly there has been an environmental impact on the camps. “We want to support as much as possible to reduce the impact.”
The British Minister said one of the purposes of her visit to Bangladesh to discuss on how to take forward the development partnership forward between the two countries. “Some really exciting things are happening.”
She said the UK is willing to strengthen its partnership with Bangladesh in various areas, including in the area of education and skill development.
The UK is providing vital humanitarian aid to many of the one million Rohingyas and vulnerable local communities in Cox’s Bazar.
Mordaunt said the major man-made humanitarian crisis has been ethnic cleansing on an industrial scale and urged the government of Myanmar to create the necessary conditions that would allow those Rohingya currently living in Bangladesh to return.
UK aid and donations from the generous British public are providing life-sustaining humanitarian assistance to many of the almost one million Rohingyas and vulnerable host communities in Cox’s Bazar.
She said the government and the people of Bangladesh have shown great generosity and humanity in hosting the Rohingya. “But we recognise that Bangladesh can’t shoulder this responsibility alone and I’m proud of the UK’s leading.”
The plight of the Rohingyas to return home must not fall off the international agenda and they must be given justice.
Mordaunt also visited the icddr,b, a world-renowned medical research centre which also houses a hospital specialising in cholera and other waterborne diseases.
UK aid supports the hospital’s research and the development of simple life-saving innovations such as breathing apparatus for small babies that was created using an empty shampoo bottle.
Experts at the hospital have also advised humanitarian workers in Yemen on how to treat deadly outbreaks of cholera, according to a media release.
Mordaunt’s visit builds on the 2017 Rohingya crisis when the British public donated “incredibly generously” towards the crisis through the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) Appeal, raising £30 million, including £5 million matched pound-for-pound by the UK government.
Benapole, Feb 19 (UNB)— India and Bangladesh will celebrate the International Mother Language Day together at Benapole’s no man’s land.
Benapole and Bangaon 21 Udjapon Committee are taking preparations for the event.
Several rounds of meetings have also been held between the Ekushey February Celebration Committee of the two Bengal.
Sheik Afil Uddin, the Jashore-1 MP, said on the occasion, a blood donation camp would be organised at Benapole no-man’s land.
The people from the neghbouring countries will participate in a discussion meeting on the same platform after paying tribute to the Language Movement martyrs.