Secretary-General of the United Nations António Guterres has highly praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the development in Bangladesh, calling it a ‘miracle’.
“The UN Secretary-General commended Bangladesh for its development in different sectors and humanity…. he thanked the Prime Minister for achieving a development of miracle,” said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen.
The Foreign Minister was briefing reporters after a bilateral meeting held between Sheikh Hasina and António Guterres at the UN Secretariat Building in New York on Thursday.
As the Bangladesh Prime Minister arrived at the meeting venue, the UN Secretary-General said, “Welcome to your home.”
He said both the UN and Bangladesh shared common priorities in different areas, including climate, financing and SDGs. “We share common priorities. Whether it’s climate, financing and SDGs. Those priorities in the UN are also the priorities of Bangladesh,” Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations Rabab Fatima, who was at the briefing, quoted António Guterres as saying.
Sheikh Hasina urged the Secretary-General to appoint more Bangladeshis to higher posts in the United Nations since Bangladesh plays a significant role in the United Nations. “We’re your major tools, but there’re a few Bangladeshis in your different higher posts,” she said.
In reply, the Secretary General said they would consider it.
In this regard, the Foreign Minister told reporters that Bangladesh and the UN are very closely linked. Bangladesh is the number-1 troops-contributing country to its peacekeeping mission. All the UNDP projects are fulfilled (implemented) in Bangladesh, he said.
“Bangladesh is a model (case) to the UN as it’s a vibrant economy coming out from a poor economy. This is why the UN always respects Bangladesh,” said Dr Momen, adding that the Bangladesh is a success story for the United Nations.
Bangladesh has been playing a very significant role in the UN since it became a member of the multilateral organisation in 1974, he said.
“Bangladeshi peacekeepers are creating a brand name wherever they work. So, we asked them to appoint Bangladeshis in other areas also,” Dr Momen added.
The Bangladesh Prime Minister also had a bilateral meeting with Queen Maxima of the Netherlands at the former’s place of residence.
Queen Maxima, also the UN Secretary-General's Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development, said they are thinking whether an insurance programme can be launched in Bangladesh to bring poor farmers who are affected by flood and storm under the insurance coverage.
Hasina also held two separate bilateral meetings with President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and President of Vietnam Nguyễn Xuân Phúc at the UN Headquarters on the sidelines of the United Nations general assembly.
In the meeting with Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, Bangladesh asked the Maldives to introduce a commercial shipping service between Chattogram port and Male port to transport goods and food items at cheap rates in order to boost trade and business between the two countries.
In response, the Maldives said they are working on it, but the operation of Male-Dhaka private airline services would begin soon.
Bangladesh also requested it to regularize undocumented Bangladeshis living in the Maldives, said Dr Momen.
The President of the Maldives was reminded about signing some proposed deals like the Promotion and Protection of Investment Agreement, remained pending with the court in the Maldives.
Ibrahim Mohamed Solih invited Sheikh Hasina to visit his country and the Bangladesh Prime Minister accepted the invitation.
In the meeting with the Vietnamese President, Vietnam was asked to help Bangladesh over the repatriation of forcibly-displaced Rohingyas as it has very good relations with Myanmar.
Sheikh Hasina asked Vietnam to explore investment scopes in different sectors in Bangladesh.
As Bangladesh has a large negative trade balance with Vietnam, Dhaka asked Hanoi to raise its import from Bangladesh.
Now the bilateral trade volume is some US$ 900 million. Of the money, Bangladesh imports goods of 600-650 million. “So, we asked them to raise the business of Bangladesh in their country,” said Dr Momen.
He said Vietnam is a rising star while Bangladesh is a rising giant. Both sides put emphasis on strengthening the bilateral relations between the two countries.
Since Vietnam is a member of ASEAN, Bangladesh also sought support from Vietnam to its application to become a sectoral dialogue partner of the association.
Foreign Senior Secretary Masud Bin Momen and PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim were present at the briefing.