Bangladeshi diplomats have to be active in strengthening economic diplomacy: PM in Doha
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday (March 06, 2023) asked Bangladeshi diplomats to play an active role in strengthening economic diplomacy in order to sustain the country’s graduation to the developing status through enhancing trade and export with different countries. “Bangladeshi diplomats working in different countries will have to be active in strengthening economic diplomacy alongside brightening the image of the country,” she said. The premier gave the directive at a regional envoy conference, held at her place of residence in Doha, with participation of Bangladeshi diplomats stationed in the Middle Eastern countries. She said since Bangladesh is going to graduate to a developing country, attention is needed on countries where Bangladesh could enhance its trade and business. Read more: Qatar Foundation Chair Nasser meets PM “You will have to discuss and negotiate with all the countries, so that we can sustain as a developing country, move forward, and can finally graduate to a developed country,” she said. Sheikh Hasina said once diplomacy was a political issue, and now it is an economic issue. “So, those of us who are working (in different countries) will have to identify trade and business opportunities there so that we can boost our exports and import goods at competitive prices.” “Identify the places where there is demand for our products and where we have the scope to market our goods,” she added. Referring to the policy of Bangladesh to maintain good relations with all countries, the PM reiterated the cornerstone of the country’s foreign policy is ‘friendship to all, malice towards none.’ Read More: Bangladesh open to Qatar’s investment in energy sector: PM tells Doha Investment Summit The premier said Bangladesh would maintain friendly relations with everyone. But when injustice is done, Bangladesh will definitely speak out while maintaining friendly relations, as it did with Myanmar. “…We gave shelter to the Rohingyas on humanitarian grounds, but we did not engage in conflict with Myanmar. Bangladesh is making diplomatic efforts to send the Rohingyas back to their homeland,” she said. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni and Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi, among others, were present at the conference. The Prime Minister is now visiting Qatar to attend the Fifth United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries (LDC-5). She arrived in Qatar last Saturday at the invitation of Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. The Prime Minister of Bangladesh is scheduled to leave here for Dhaka on Wednesday. Read More: PM Sheikh Hasina arrives in Qatar to join UN conference on LDCs.
National interests drive Bangladesh's foreign policy: Momen
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, now in Washington, has explained Bangladesh’s engagements with India and China noting that Bangladesh’s foreign policy, like the US one, is all about national interests. He also shared historical background shedding light on the two different roles that India and China played during the War of Liberation in 1971. The foreign minister answered a number of questions at a programme titled “A conversation with Bangladesh’s Foreign Minister” on the lessons learned from the last 50 years and the path ahead for US-Bangladesh relations hosted by United States Institute of Peace (USIP) on Tuesday. President and CEO of the USIP Lise Grande delivered opening remarks at the event moderated by Ambassador Teresita Schaffer. As the Biden administration implements its Indo-Pacific strategy, Bangladesh’s relationships with neighbouring India and China suggest that it will draw increasing interest from US policymakers, according to USIP. “We’ve rock-solid relations with India,” Momen said, adding that Bangladesh can never forget the support of India and its people during the 1971 War of Liberation. Also read:RAB's importance to counterterrorism recognised but lifting sanctions to take time: Blinken
Policy towards Afghan depends on its attitude: FM
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said Bangladesh will decide its policy towards Afghanistan independently after observing the situation, their attitudes and policies but no terrorists will be patronized. “We’ve zero tolerance...we'll in no way patronise any terrorists,” he told reporters referring to the involvement of few Bangladeshis in Afghanistan in the previous Taliban government. Dr Momen said he was asked whether Bangladesh will follow the policy of India or Pakistan but he made it clear that the decision of Bangladesh is not linked with the decision of any other country. While briefing journalists at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, he said Bangladesh has a historic relationship with Afghanistan and is observing the situation in Afghanistan which is a member of Saarc. “We believe in democracy. We should ensure people’s welfare and we’re yet to take any decision on the Afghanistan issue,” he said. The Taliban on Tuesday announced an all-male interim government for Afghanistan. The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh always believes in a people's government that comes through a political and democratic process and Bangladesh always extends support to such a government where people’s desire is reflected. On Wednesday, State Minister for Foreign Affair M Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh is still waiting for a permanent government in place in Afghanistan without hurriedly reaching a decision whether it will welcome the interim government or not. “We’re still observing the situation very closely. Our focus still remains on peace and stability fully free from any war,” he told reporters at his office. Responding to a question on progress over bringing back BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman and other criminals, the Foreign Minister said he cannot tell it exactly as the government is following the issues as per the laws. “I don’t have any such progress report.” Read: Bangladesh to take its policy towards Afghanistan independently
Bangladesh to take its policy towards Afghanistan independently: FM
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said Bangladesh will decide its policy towards Afghanistan independently noting that what India or Pakistan is doing is not that much important to Bangladesh. “Bangladesh always decides its foreign policy in the interest of its own and very independently,” he told BBC Bangla in an interview making it clear that the decision of Bangladesh is not linked with that of any other country. The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh always believes in a people's government that comes through a political and democratic process, and it always extends support to such a government where people’s desire is reflected. “We’ll extend support if people’s desire is reflected in the new Afghan government. At this moment, we don’t know as we’re yet to understand the situation in Afghanistan,” Dr Momen said, adding that things will depend on how the new Afghan government acts and what policy it adopts after the formulation of the government. The Foreign Minister, however, said there is a perception to get about the people in Afghanistan as what they want. Read: Bangladesh observing Afghanistan situation, in touch with stranded citizens
Biden, unlike predecessors, has maintained Putin skepticism
President Joe Biden frequently talks about what he sees as central in executing effective foreign policy: building personal relationships. But unlike his four most recent White House predecessors, who made an effort to build a measure of rapport with Vladimir Putin, Biden has made clear that the virtue of fusing a personal connection might have its limits when it comes to the Russian leader. The president, who is set to meet with Putin face-to-face on Wednesday in Geneva, has repeated an anecdote about his last meeting with Putin, 10 years ago when he was vice president and Putin was serving as prime minister. Putin had taken a break from the presidency because the Russian constitution at the time prohibited a third consecutive term, but he was still seen as Russia’s most powerful leader. Biden recalled to biographer Evan Osnos that during that meeting in 2011, Putin showed him his ornate office in Moscow. Biden recalling poking Putin — a former KGB officer — that “it’s amazing what capitalism will do.” Read:Biden at NATO: Ready to talk China, Russia and soothe allies Biden said he then turned around and standing inches from Putin said, “Mr. Prime Minister, I’m looking into your eyes, and I don’t think you have a soul.” Biden said Putin smiled and responded: “We understand one another.” Biden’s comment was in part a dig at former President George W. Bush, who faced ridicule after his first meeting with Putin when he claimed that he had “looked the man in the eye” and “was able to get a sense of his soul.” But in replaying his decade-old exchange with Putin, Biden also has attempted to demonstrate he is clear-eyed about the Russian leader in a way his predecessors weren’t. Biden and Putin are now meeting again, at a moment when the U.S.-Russia relationship seems to get more complicated by the day. Biden has repeatedly taken Putin to task — and levied sanctions against Russian entities and individuals in Putin’s orbit — over allegations of Russian interference in the 2020 election and the hacking of federal agencies in what is known as the SolarWinds breach. Despite the sanctions, Putin has been unmoved. Cyber attacks in the U.S. originating from Russian-based hackers in recent weeks have also impacted a major oil pipeline and the largest meat supplier in the world. Putin has denied Kremlin involvement. Michael McFaul, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia who was with Biden for the 2011 meeting with Putin, said in an interview that Biden might have a deeper skepticism and perhaps more informed view of Putin than any of his White House predecessors. “Biden’s knowledge of the region may be better than anybody that’s held the job,” McFaul said. “Biden has spent time in Georgia. He spent a lot of time in Ukraine. I traveled with him to Moldova, and he’s spent a lot of time in the eastern parts of the NATO alliance. He has been in those places and heard firsthand about Russian aggression and Russian threat. ... It has created a unique component of his analysis of Putin that other presidents have not had.” Indeed, as president, Biden has said he would take a far different tack in his relationship with Putin than former President Donald Trump, who showed unusual deference to Putin, and the three other past U.S. presidents, whose political lives overlapped Putin’s time in power. During his first visit of his presidency to the State Department, in February, Biden told agency employees that the days of “rolling over” for Putin were over — a not-so thinly veiled shot at Trump. Later, in an ABC News interview, Biden answered affirmatively that Putin was “a killer.” Read:As COVID-19 cases wane, vaccine-lagging in USA still see risk Trump’s tendency to genuflect to Putin had many in Washington openly questioning whether the Russians had something embarrassing on the real estate mogul. Both Trump and Putin publicly denied the speculation. Trump repeatedly tried to scotch the notion — underscored by U.S. intelligence findings — that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election. Asked at their joint news conference at the end of their 2018 summit in Helsinki whom he believed — U.S. intelligence or Putin — Trump demurred. The White House said that Biden would not hold a joint news conference with Putin, but would speak to media on his own after Wednesday’s meeting. Administration officials say that Biden doesn’t want to elevate Putin. Asked Sunday why years of U.S. sanctions haven’t changed Putin’s behavior, Biden laughed and responded: “He’s Vladimir Putin.”″ Barack Obama came into office seeking a reset of the U.S.-Russia relationship, an effort to improve relations with Russian leadership and find areas of common interest. Before his visit to Moscow early in his first term Obama spoke dismissively of Putin, saying the then-prime minister had “one foot in the old ways of doing business and one foot in the new.” But after meeting face-to-face during the trip, Obama pronounced he was “very convinced the prime minister is a man of today and he’s got his eyes firmly on the future.” That feeling didn’t last. By the time Obama and Putin met on the sidelines of the 2013 Group of Eight summit in Northern Ireland, the reset effort was on life support. Read:Biden to assure allies, meet Putin during 1st overseas trip At the time, G-8 leaders were unsuccessfully pressing Putin to join a call for Syrian President Bashar Assad to step down and former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden had been allowed to stay in Russia after releasing highly classified American intelligence. Obama and Putin’s disdain for each other was palpable. During a photo opportunity before the press in Northern Ireland, they sat grim faced and avoided looking at each other. In 2014, after Russia invaded neighboring Ukraine, any vapor of hope for a reset had evaporated. George W. Bush tried mightily to charm Putin, hosting him at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, and bringing him to his father’s estate in Kennebunkport, Maine, where the 43rd and 41st presidents took the Russian president fishing. But Putin ultimately flummoxed Bush and the relationship was badly damaged after Russia’s 2008 invasion of its neighbor Georgia after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili ordered his troops into the breakaway region of South Ossetia. Bill Clinton was the first U.S. president to deal with Putin, meeting him for the first time in 1999 at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation gathering months before Putin would succeed Boris Yeltsin as president and a little over a year before the end of Clinton’s presidency. In a phone call with Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair in November 2000, Clinton called Putin “a guy with a lot of ambition for the Russians” but also expressed concern that Putin “could get squishy on democracy,” according to a transcript of the call published by the Clinton Presidential Archives. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters last week that Biden has known Putin for a long time and “never held back” on voicing his concerns. Read:Face to face: June summit for Biden, Putin as tensions rise “This is not about friendship. It’s not about trust,” Psaki said. “It’s about what’s in the interest of the United States. And, in our view, that is moving toward a more stable and predictable relationship.” Biden has managed several complicated relationships with foreign leaders during his nearly 50 years in national politics. He’s developed a rapport with China’s Xi Jinping — spending days traveling with Xi in the U.S. and China. Biden in recent days has told aides that his relationship with Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan has remained strong despite differences over U.S. support for Kurds in northwest Syria and Biden disparaging Erdogan as an autocrat. But Putin has left Biden with fundamentally more difficult problems that personal diplomacy can’t fix, said Rachel Ellehuus, deputy director of the Europe, Russia and Eurasia Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. “With someone like Erdogan, Xi or the North Korean (Kim Jong Un), Biden has had this sense that we have something they want,” Ellehuus said. “Biden has long recognized that the only thing Putin really wants is to undermine the U.S., to divide NATO, to divide the EU. Biden knows there’s little common ground to work from with Putin.”
We respect Bangladesh’s right to make foreign policy decisions for itself: US
The United States has taken note of Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming's recent remarks over "Quad" saying that the US respects Bangladesh’s right to make foreign policy decisions for itself. "What we would say is that we respect Bangladesh’s sovereignty, and we respect Bangladesh’s right to make foreign policy decisions for itself," Spokesperson at the US Department of State Ned Price said in a regular briefing on Tuesday. Price said they have an incredibly strong relationship with Bangladesh and work closely with their partners there on a range of issues --from economic growth to climate change to humanitarian issues. Also read: Ambassador Li meets FS; explains his remarks "And when it comes to the Quad, we’ve said this before, but the Quad, it’s an informal, essential, multilateral mechanism that right now conveys – convenes likeminded democracies – the United States, India, Australia, and Japan – to coordinate in the Indo-Pacific, and fundamentally, to push forward our goal of a free and open Indo-Pacific region," said the Spokesperson. Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming on Wednesday met Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and explained his remarks made during the DCAB discussions. The meeting was held after a vaccine handover ceremony at state guesthouse Padma. Also read: It's very regrettable, says FM on China's Quad remarks They discussed different bilateral issues, including Covid cooperation, between the two countries, a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told UNB. They highlighted the importance of the growing relationship between the two countries. On Monday, the Ambassador attended a programme hosted by Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) and talked about a number of issues, including vaccine cooperation. Also read: Beijing wants Dhaka not to join Quad The envoy, while responding to a question, also talked about Quad, an initiative of four countries- the United States, Japan, India and Australia, that was followed by a reaction by Dhaka. Ambassador Li said obviously it will not be a good idea for Bangladesh to participate in this small club of four countries because it will "substantially damage" the bilateral relationship between the two countries. “So, we don’t like to see any form of participation by Bangladesh to this small group of countries,” said the envoy.
It's very regrettable, says FM on China's Quad remarks
Terming Chinese envoy's recent remarks very regrettable, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said Bangladesh maintained a non-aligned and balanced foreign policy and it will decide what to do following that principles. "We’re an independent and sovereign State. We decide our (own) foreign policy. But yes, any country can uphold its position," he told reporters adding that they recall with respect what others say but did not expect such behaviour from China. The Foreign Minister made the remarks when his comments sought on Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming's remarks on "Quad" and Bangladesh. "Naturally, he (Ambassador) represents a country. They can say what they want. Maybe they don't want it (Bangladesh's joining Quad)," Dr Momen said, adding that no one from the Quad has approached Bangladesh yet. “The comment has been an advanced one,” said the Foreign Minister. He said usually China does not interfere in others' internal affairs and they did not see anyone saying anything in such an aggressive way. "It's very regrettable." Also read: Beijing wants Dhaka not to join Quad Dr Momen said they (China) can say their position and Bangladesh always welcomes what others say. "We'll listen to what they say. But we'll decide what is good for us." He said once the United States had asked Bangladesh for selling gas but Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina replied to power like the US that Bangladesh would decide after keeping reserve for 50 years. "Who’re you?" Dr Momen said they are lucky that they have a leader like Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He said many people at many times had said many things in the past but Bangladesh has done what is good for the country and for the wellbeing of its people guided by its principled position. Dr Momen said they will decide following the foreign policy principles considering the interest of people and the country. "We've maintained a non-aligned and a balanced foreign policy. We’ll continue to do it (maintaining non-aligned and balanced foreign policy)." "What he (Ambassador) said (is) fine. We’ve no special comment on that," Dr Momen added. Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming on Monday said Bangladesh’s relations with China will "substantially get damaged" if Bangladesh joins "Quad", a US-led initiative. Also read: 5 lakh doses of Chinese vaccine to arrive on May 12: Envoy The envoy said obviously it will not be a good idea for Bangladesh to participate in this small club of four countries because it will substantially damage the bilateral relationship between the two countries. “So, we don’t like to see any form of participation by Bangladesh to this small group of countries,” said Ambassador Li. He termed “Quad” a military alliance aiming against China's resurgence and its relationship with neighbouring countries. The US, India, Japan and Australia are part of an informal strategic alliance - the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad as it is known. Known as the “Quadrilateral Security Dialogue,” representatives for the four member nations met periodically since its establishment in 2007. While talking to UNB at his residence recently, Dr Momen said then the world was divided into blocks -- one was eastern bloc and another western bloc. Since the eastern bloc helped Bangladesh most, many had thought Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman would join the eastern bloc but Bangabandhu did not do it and maintained a non-aligned position, he said. Also read: Ready to offer more support if Covid situation deteriorates in Bangladesh: China The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh still believes in the foreign policy given by Bangabandhu - friendship to all malice to none. Following Bangabandhu's footprint, Dr Momen said, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, adopted a balanced and non-aligned foreign policy. He said Bangladesh is in a very good position as it has friends like India and China - two big countries. "We maintain good relations with both the countries." Dr Momen said Bangladesh has had a "rock-solid" relationship with India since 1971 and China is a big economic and development partner. "Others see us with much respect as we maintain good relations with India and China," said the Foreign Minister, adding that Bangladesh could do things that other countries could not.
Bangabandhu’s dynamism, farsightedness shaped Bangladesh’s foreign policy visions: Webinar
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Foreign Policy was marked by dynamism coupled with neutrality and high moral standing in the global arena.
Believe in peace, but also ready to protect ourselves: PM
Bangladesh always believes in peaceful coexistence with all neighbours, but it is also ever ready to protect its sovereignty from any aggressive attack, said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Bangladesh maintains friendship with all: FM
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday reiterated that Bangladesh maintains friendship with all and does not believe in quarrels with neighbours. "Our foreign policy is very clear which was given by our Father of the Nation (Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) - friendship to all, malice to none," he said, citing how peacefully Bangladesh resolved issues with India through dialogue. Dr Momen said it is not the headache of Bangladesh who are in quarrels. "It's their headache." The Foreign Minister made the remarks when his attention was drawn to tensions between India and Pakistan during an interaction with the media at Circuit House in Natore. He said Bangladesh gives special attention to its neighbours as directed by dynamic leader Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. "Because people get benefited (from friendly relations)." Referring to the peaceful settlement of land boundary agreement and maritime boundary with India, Dr Momen said Bangladesh did not need to get involved in any war. "There’s no such example of the maturity of leadership shown by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi," he said. The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh is promoting economic diplomacy and exploring new manpower markets. "Manpower is a big asset for us." He mentioned Bangladesh's better growth compared to other countries despite COVID-19 pandemic. Local political leaders, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and officials from the district were present. Also read: FM for building bridges with Bangladesh-origin talents abroad