Dhaka, Nov 4 (UNB) - Singapore Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Vivian Balakrishnan will visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar district on Sunday to see the situation on the ground.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali accompanied him during the visit where they reviewed the strong bilateral relations and close cooperation between two nations.
Minister Ali also briefed his counterpart on the status of Rohingyas who fled form Rakhine state in Myanmar and hoped that the repatriation process will commence soon.
“We both emphasised the need to do so in a voluntary, safe and dignified manner," the Singapore Minister wrote on his verified Facebook page.
The Singapore minister also said that Asean stands ready to support Bangladesh and Myanmar in finding a long-term solution.
Minister Balakrishnan arrived here on Saturday evening on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral and regional issues with special focus on Rohingya one, said an official.
Bangladesh and Myanmar have already agreed to begin first batch of Rohingya repatriation on November 15.
His Bangladesh counterpart Minister Ali hosted a dinner in honour of Singapore Minister at State guesthouse Padma on Saturday night.
The visiting Minister is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today (Sunday morning) before going to Cox’s bazar to oversee the Rohingya situation.
He is scheduled to return back to Dhaka in the evening after visiting the Rohingya camps.
On September 29, Minister Balakrishnan said Myanmar should start repatriating the Rohingyas from Bangladesh, and it must ensure that they return to a society where there is security, peace, justice and better prospects for everyone.
“The next step has to be repatriation, since there was an agreement signed between Myanmar and Bangladesh, in fact, in November last year,” he said in New York.
Minister Balakrishnan, earlier, outlined ASEAN’s engagement of Myanmar in helping it respond to this crisis, and underscored ASEAN’s readiness to assist with humanitarian relief.
Singapore thinks a long term solution to this complex issue could only be found when all relevant stakeholders were committed to resolving the issue.
Dhaka, Nov 3 (UNB)- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Saturday congratulated Jair Messias Bolsonaro on his election as the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil.
In a message she said: "It's my great pleasure to congratulate you, and through you the friendly people of Brazil, on your election as the President of the Federative Republic of Brazil. Your election came as a reflection of the trust and confidence that the people of Brazil repose on your dynamic leadership in securing Brazil’s rightful place in the world."
She mentioned that Bangladesh, a longstanding friend of Brazil, enjoys close ties with Brazil.
"I hope that with your able guidance, the two countries’ partnership in the days ahead would reach a higher trajectory in a multi-sectoral context, including in vital and prospective areas such as trade, defence cooperation, agricultural cooperation, health, education, sports."
The Prime Minister said that Bangladesh has lately decided to explore the possibility of concluding a Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with the Mercosur group of countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay, with Venezuela suspended since 2016) for realising the trade potentials between Bangladesh and Mercosur in general, and with Brazil in particular.
"Bangladesh has been making commendable strides in realising an inclusive socio-economic development of its people. My government has invested heavily in education, health, women empowerment, ICT, and so on—transforming Bangladesh from a Least Developed Country (LDC) to a developing one."
She also invited Bolsonaro to visit Bangladesh at his earliest convenience.
Dhaka, Nov 3 (UNB) – Bangladesh has reiterated its commitment to strengthen the D-8 (Developing-8) Organisation for Economic Cooperation.
Bangladesh also urged the D-8 member countries to accept Bangladesh request for 30 percent local value addition criteria facility under the rules of origin of the D-8 Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA).
Speaking at the 18th session of the D-8 Council of Ministers in Antalya, Turkey on Saturday Secretary (Asia-Pacific) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mahbub Uz Zaman conveyed the commitment of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, a co-founder of D-8.
Bangladesh made the request over local value addition criteria facility as an LDC and it has ratified and joined the D-8 PTA, said the Foreign Ministry here.
Secretary Zaman who led the Bangladesh delegation was accompanied by the Director General (International Organizations) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs AFM Gousal Azam Sarker and Bangladesh Ambassador to Turkey M Allama Siddiki.
The session was attended by delegations of D-8 member countries as well as the head of D-8 Chambers of Commerce and Industry (D-8 CCI).
Prior to the council meeting, the D-8 Commissioners met in a two-day long session to finalise the outcome documents and preparation for the ministerial meeting.
Director General (International Organisations) and Bangladesh Commissioner to D-8 led his delegation to the commission meeting.
The heads of delegations discussed ways of enhancing cooperation especially in the fields of trade, commerce and investment.
The gathering put emphasis on the finalisation of D-8 Decennial Road Map-2020-2030, the D-8 University, the D-8 Project Support Fund and some other documents on important initiatives taken up under Turkish Chairmanship with the 9th D-8 Summit.
The Joint Declaration of the D-8 CCI, which was the outcome of the D-8 CCI Business Forum of the D-8 Countries’ Chambers of Commerce and Industries on November 2, 2018, was read out during the session and it was appreciated by the Council.
Bangladesh expressed deep appreciation for the D-8 countries for their support and cooperation in addressing the Rohingya crisis.
Referring to the three-point recommendation recently made by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the High Level Event on the global compact on Refugees held in September 2018 in New York, Secretary Zaman called upon all to exert pressure on Myanmar for return and repatriation of the Rohingya people from Bangladesh to their homeland in safety, security and dignity.
The Council appreciated the Bangladesh for sheltering the forcibly displaced Rohingya Muslims.
They expressed their commitment to continue support Bangladesh and the displaced Rohingyas in their return and reintegration in Myanmar.
Bangladesh will host the next Summit of the D-8 and Council of Ministers meeting towards the end 2019/early 2020 and assume D-8 chairmanship.
Dhaka, Nov 2 (UNB) - The European Union (EU) has threatened to impose trade sanctions on Myanmar if it fails to address the concerns of the international community.
“The EU stands ready to provide necessary support to Myanmar to address the concerns of the international community. Nevertheless, withdrawal of trade preferences is a clear possibility if other channels of cooperation have failed to reach results," it said.
A monitoring mission of experts from the European Commission and the European External Action Service visited Myanmar from October 28 to 31.
This follows deeply worrying developments highlighted in various United Nations reports, in particular as regards human rights violations in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States and concerns around labour rights.
EU Commissioner for Trade Cecilia Malmstrom said, "We now expect Myanmar to address the severe shortcomings that have been highlighted during this monitoring mission. If they do not act, Myanmar authorities are putting their country's tariff-free access to the EU market in danger–a scheme which has proved to be vital for the economic and social development of the country, providing thousands of jobs to workers in sectors such as textiles, agriculture and fisheries."
Malmstrom said trade, done right, is a powerful force for good. “Since several years, we have worked to ensure that trade preferences and access to the EU market are an incentive to promote fundamental human and labour rights.”
The EU Trade Commissioner said they are committed to helping Myanmar improve the situation and ensure that the principles enshrined in the international conventions to which Myanmar has committed are not undermined.
The EU has reiterated at several occasions its serious concerns about the disproportionate use of force and widespread and systematic grave human rights violations committed by the Myanmar military and security forces, in particular in Rakhine State but also in Kachin and Shan States.
These violations were also evidenced most recently in the detailed report of the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar in September of this year.
The EU mission this week met with several ministers, as well as with trade unions, businesses, civil society, and United Nations and International Labour Organisation representatives in the country.
It provided the opportunity for an open dialogue with Myanmar on key issues such as: ensuring constructive cooperation with relevant UN bodies; supporting international efforts to investigate and prosecute individuals suspected of having committed crimes against humanity; ensuring full humanitarian access notably in Rakhine, Kachin and Shan States; ensuring implementation of the recommendations of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State, creating conditions for a voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh to their places of origin.
The EU mission also discussed its concerns regarding the continued use of forced labour in parts of the country, in particular by Myanmar's armed forces, including child recruitment, as well as the need for further reforms as regards freedom of association and collective bargaining.
The high-level mission was part of the broader engagement that the European Commission has launched to monitor Myanmar's respect of fifteen fundamental UN and International Labour Organisation (ILO) conventions.
In order to continue to benefit from duty-free, quota-free access to the EU market through the Everything But Arms (EBA) scheme, Myanmar must uphold and respect the principles enshrined in these conventions, it added.
The findings of this mission will feed into the analysis on whether to remove these trade preferences through a temporary EBA withdrawal procedure.
The European Union will now analyse as a matter of priority the information gathered during the mission, as well as further information from the Myanmar government, before considering the next steps.
Under the EBA arrangement of the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), the EU unilaterally grants exporters from Least Developed Countries (LDCs) tariff-free and quota-free access to its market for all products (except arms and ammunition) with the aim to contribute to the economic development of these countries and their integration into the global trading system.
Dhaka, Nov 2 (UNB) - Bangladesh Embassy in Tokyo hosted a reception at the Bangabandhu Auditorium of the mission on Friday in honour of two prominent personalities of Japan and Bangladesh.
Ambassador of Bangladesh in Japan Rabab Fatima felicitated Dr Kazi Ghiyasuddin and Matsushiro Horiguchi on their achievements.
Dr Kazi received ‘The Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Rays’ in the category of a foreign national in recognition of his valuable contribution to promoting cultural exchanges through the development of modern art in Japan and Bangladesh.
He was the only Bangladeshi this year in the list of the 140 foreign nationals who received the awards.
Dr Kazi is a highly acclaimed artist in both Japan and Bangladesh, said the Embassy on Friday.
Matsushiro Horiguchi, former Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh, received “The Order of the Sacred Treasure, Gold Rays with Neck Ribbon” - regarded as the highest recognition for a civil servant in Japan.
He is the President of Japan-Bangladesh Society.
Ambassador Fatima said, “It was our privilege to have him (Horiguchi) as Japan’s Ambassador to Bangladesh, during which he further deepened and expanded the excellent bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Japan and continues to do that in his capacity as the President of the Japan-Bangladesh Society, with passion and conviction.”
The reception was attended by Japanese dignitaries and high officials, as well as representatives from the media and the cultural world.
The guests were entertained by traditional Bangladeshi cuisine. Noted Rabindra Sangeet Singer Elham Nusrat Nondita presented Rabindra Sangeet at the reception.