Dhaka, Sept 5 (UNB) - Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has urged the IORA member states and dialogue partners to formulate and implement projects for economic cooperation relating to trade facilitation and liberalisation, promotion of foreign investment, scientific and technological exchanges and marine tourism.
"We have to keep in mind that we all have a stake in building a sustainable Blue Economy. Our actions will determine our future," he said adding that Bangladesh is always committed to aligning its development strides with IORA’s Concord and Plan of Action.
While addressing the 3rd Blue Economy Ministerial Conference here, Dr Momen also called for adopting the Dhaka Declaration in order to provide maximum opportunities to develop shared interests, wider networks and reap mutually beneficial results.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the conference as the chief guest.
Chair, Indian Ocean Rim Association, its secretary general, secretary general of International Seabed Authority, ministers and heads of delegations from member states, dialogue partners, ministers, MP and other dignitaries from the government of Bangladesh were present.
Dr Momen said the Blue economy Conference offered a unique opportunity to discuss practical ways to implement their shared aspirations and ensure a living healthy ocean for future generations.
"This is also an opportunity to forge greater cooperation in areas of marine fisheries, shipping, sea-bed exploration and renewable energy towards achieving a sustainable Blue Economy in the region," he said.
For developing countries like Bangladesh, the foreign minister said, skills and knowledge level is achievable only by innovation and research by collective and collaborative efforts.
He said universities, research institutions and other relevant think-tank organisations can work together in this aspect.
"Our success in sustainably managing ocean resources for boosting economic growth in this region, therefore, critically hinges on us working together and our partnership," Dr Momen said.
According to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, 85 percent of global fish stocks are “overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion”.
To promote sustainable and responsible fisheries management and development, IORA should adopt joint capacity building projects and information sharing on aquaculture to address food security and IUU fishing in the Indian Ocean region, said the foreign minister.
"IORA should also assume the central role to combat the scourge of maritime piracy, armed robbery, human trafficking by sea, illegal arms trafficking etc. It is only possible through a common understanding of maritime governance and its pragmatic application with orchestrated efforts," he added.
Dhaka, Sept 5 (UNB) – Visiting Australian Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne on Thursday said Australia will continue to provide strong support to Bangladesh over Rohingya issue as they want the displaced people to return to their own country.
Marise Payne said this at a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at hotel InterContinental in the city.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
“We would like to stay in touch on this issue,” the Australian minister was quoted as saying.
Marise Payne informed the Prime Minister that Australia will enhance its contributions further to this humanitarian issue and appreciated Bangladesh for giving shelter to a large number of displaced Rohingyas.
She also appreciated the Prime Minister’s role in women empowerment and said she herself a fan of cricket like the Bangladesh Prime Minister.
She said her country wants the Australian cricket team to visit Bangladesh as per schedule.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has given shelter to 1.1 million Rohingyas on humanitarian ground, and Bangladesh and Myanmar signed agreements over the repatriation of Rohingyas, but the deal is not being implemented because of the reluctance of Myanmar authority.
Noting that Rohingya issue is a big burden for Bangladesh, she said some 100,000 babies were born by the time at Rohingya camps in Cox's Bazar.
Earlier, the heads of delegations of the participating countries in the 3rd IORA Blue Economy Ministerial Conference jointly met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
At the meeting, the heads of the delegations said they will extend support to the Dhaka declaration as there had been very vibrant discussion at the conference.
The Prime Minister said this conference will add a new dimension to the forum.
The people of Bangladesh, living in six seasons, are facing the furry of natural calamities like cyclone, flood, tidal surge and river erosion, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has taken measures to combat the natural calamities.
She said artificial mangrove forests are being developed at the coastal belt to protect the lives and property of people from natural disasters.
Assuming power, her government took various preparedness measures to prevent loss of lives and property during the natural calamities, she said.
The Prime Minister stressed the need for protecting ecological balance.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman and Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque were present.
Dhaka, Sep 4 (UNB) - Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has urged countries including Bangladesh not to bow to what he termed ‘economic terrorism’ by the United States government, and encouraged them to avail a number of alternative trading mechanisms that circumvent the US financial system to carry on trading with Iran - without falling foul of Washington’s sanctions regime.
“Measures that the United States is taking against Iran are punishing countries that want to observe the law, because the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 calls on member states to normalise business relations with Iran,” Zarif said, during a brief interaction with journalists at a city hotel on Wednesday.
“In the process the US is hurting those countries by preventing them from trading with an important partner, particularly in the petrochemicals market,” he added. Dr Zarif served the example of India, saying they end up paying upto “30 percent more” on the international market to meet their petrochemical needs, when they cannot buy from Iran.
US President Donald Trump rather infamously withdrew the US from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the ‘Iran nuclear deal’ that provided for Iran to curtail its nuclear programme and subject itself to the control of the International Atomic Energy Agency, while the other contracting parties gradually relaxed sanctions against Iran, in May 2018. Some sanctions were reimposed by Washington immediately. Later in November, the so-called secondary sanctions were also reinstated.
Secondary sanctions prohibit firms and individuals in other countries from conducting commercial transactions with US citizens and businesses, to inhibit their economic relationship with the country targeted with “primary” economic sanctions. With the ultimate goal to stop Iran’s nuclear program, US secondary sanctions gave financial institutions around the world a choice to either halt transactions with Iranian banks or lose access to the US financial system - including the use of the dollar, the world’s reserve currency.
The impact of the sanctions, that Zarif referred to throughout as “economic terrorism”, was being felt “directly” in a number of economies around the world as they target ordinary citizens, he said.
“Now the way to deal with them, is to reduce our dependence on the means that gives the US such a presence in determining the nature of our relations. Countries must be free to choose their trade and economic partners, without having other countries arm-twist them, or bully them,” said the foreign minister, who himself went on the list of sanctioned individuals earlier this year. His movements in New York City for example, whenever he is there for UN purposes, are now restricted within a few blocks of the UN offices in Turtle Bay.
His visit to Dhaka though, saw him spend a very busy day on Wednesday, including meetings with the prime minister, the foreign minister, and the speaker of parliament. Zarif was upbeat on the potential to increase bilateral trade, that currently languishes around just $160 million. The somewhat arcane-sounding barter system came up as a suggested mode of trade in goods and services between the two countries, as a convenient ploy to avoid the dollar.
To make it work, Iran could operate a bank account in Dhaka to trade using Bangladeshi Taka as a medium while Bangladesh could operate an account to trade using Iranian Rial in Tehran, an Iranian diplomat has said in the past. Iran has been engaged in barter trade with India and Russia.
Zarif seemed to suggest as long as the political will was there, the ways can be found in cooperation with Tehran. “We are the experts at sanctions-busting,” he claimed.
The Iranian foreign minister will be leaving Dhaka on Thursday, after attending the ‘3rd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Ministerial Conference on Blue Economy’ in the morning.
Dhaka, Sept 4 (UNB) - Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Toshiko Abe has said Japan is happy over Bangladesh's decision to name metro rail stations after the names of the Japanese victims of the Holey Artisan terror attack.
During a meeting with State Minister M Shahriar Alam in Male on the sidelines of the 4th Indian Ocean Conference on Wednesday, she also expressed their gratitude that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met all the family members of the Japanese victims of terror attack.
Shahriar thanked Japan for facilitating the very fruitful visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier in May this year.
Referring to the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed last month in Tokyo, he expressed gratitude to the Japanese government for listing Bangladesh as a source country for skilled migration.
It was highlighted that both governments will work closely to deliver on the MoU as per the agreement.
Shahriar Alam updated his Japanese counterpart on the latest status of over 1.1 million Rohingyas sheltered by Bangladesh, including Bangladesh’s concerns about security at the camps.
He underscored that Bangladesh needs the support of Japan for repatriation of the Rohingyas in safety and dignity to Myanmar and to start moving them to Bhashanchar.
Toshiko Abe mentioned that Japan is particularly happy that Bangladesh has decided to name metro rail stations after the names of the Holey Artisan victims.
Both sides agreed on timely implementation of ODA, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here.
Shahriar called for Japanese support for building a new railway bridge over the Jamuna River.
The Japanese side reassured their support and cooperation to build the railway bridge.
The State Minister led the Bangladesh delegation to the 4th Indian Ocean Conference organised by India Foundation in association with the government of the Maldives and S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Singapore from 3-4 September.
He is also a member of the IOC Organising Committee.
The theme of IOC 2019 is "Securing the Indian Ocean Region: Traditional and Non-Traditional Challenges".
Tokyo, Sept 4 (UNB) - The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Japan (FCCJ) hosted the ‘Bangladesh Night-2019’ here on Wednesday at its new premises, with support from the Embassy of Bangladesh in Japan.
The event was attended by a large representation numbering over 100 leading foreign and Japanese correspondents and editors and other Japanese dignitaries.
Ambassador of Bangladesh to Japan Rabab Fatima made the keynote presentation focusing on the transformative development of Bangladesh under Prime Minister's development roadmaps Vision 2021 and Vision 2041.
She also touched upon the state of the excellent bilateral relations existing between Bangladesh and Japan while saying that the foundation of this relation was laid by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who regarded Japan as a role model of development and technological advancement.
First Vice-president of the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Japan Monzurul Huq conducted the function.
Video documentaries on Bangladesh's development and tourist attractions were also shown.
There was a colorful cultural programme performed by Bangladeshi community artists, which was greatly enjoyed by the audience.
A display of ‘Nakshi-Katha’ and handicraft products produced by Japanese company Roshun in Bangladesh, was also on display. The guests were entertained with traditional Bangladeshi cuisine.
The programme was very well received and the audience praised the high-quality representation of Bangladesh's development, culture and cuisine.
Guests termed the event as one of the best country-themed nights hosted by the Club.