Bangladesh and the United Kingdom are considering signing a new memorandum of understanding (MoU) on economic cooperation. Expressing satisfaction at the record-breaking bilateral trade of $6.4 billion in 2022-23 and $561 million FDI from the UK, the highest from any country in 2022, Bangladesh and the UK agreed to create new institutional cooperation to promote business, trade and investments. The issues were discussed at the 5th Bangladesh-UK Strategic Dialogue held in Dhaka on September 12. Momen offers condolence to people and govt of Libya over deadly flood The Dialogue, led respectively by Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and UK FCDO Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Philip Barton, reviewed the entire gamut of historic relations between the two Commonwealth nations, including political, economic, security and defence, migration and mobility, climate and development partnerships. Under-Secretary Sir Barton commended the remarkable socio-economic progress and resilient economic growth achieved by Bangladesh over the past decade. The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary commended the UK’s sustained market-access support to Bangladesh as its 3rd largest export destination and urged for its extension until 2029 and beyond following Bangladesh’s scheduled LDC graduation in 2026. Both sides also agreed to explore signing of an MoU on cooperation in cybersecurity. They acknowledged their long-standing value-based ties since 1971 and recalled the historic visit of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to London on January 8, 1972. Under-Secretary Sir Barton expressed his deep appreciation for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s participation in the State Funeral of UK’s late monarch Queen Elizabeth II and the historic royal coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla. The Bangladesh side expressed hope that King Charles III would reschedule his postponed visit to Bangladesh at his earliest convenience, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday. Bangladesh and the UK agreed on enhancing migration and mobility cooperation especially in gainful employment in the nursing, hospitality, agricultural, construction and masonry and other services sectors in the UK. Commonwealth ministers pay homage at Bangabandhu Memorial Museum Both sides agreed to constitute a ‘Joint Working Group’ to discuss migration, mobility and mutual recognition of qualifications. They also agreed to sign an SoP on returns of Bangladeshi nationals in irregular situation in the UK. Bangladesh thanked the UK Government for a significant increase in issuance of student, visit and business visas in 2022. The two sides also discussed mutual legal assistance in criminal matters. Recalling the Climate Accord signed between Bangladesh and the UK in March this year, both sides expressed their determination to cooperate in climate action bilaterally and multilaterally. They also agreed to sign a Joint Action Plan with time-bound activities under the Climate Accord towards a net-zero and nature-positive world. The Bangladesh side expressed commitment to forge ahead with its national targets under SDG 16 for building a just, peaceful and inclusive society. The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary reiterated Bangladesh’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy against terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization. Both sides agreed to intensify cooperation and capacity building on global and regional security issues of mutual interest including maritime and aviation safety and security in the Indian Ocean as well as countering extremist and terrorist outfits. The UK commended Bangladesh’s leading contribution to world peace under UN peacekeeping missions, especially praising one of the highest contributions of female peacekeepers by Bangladesh. Bangladesh's hearing at ITLOS on submission by Small Island States on Wednesday The two countries expressed satisfaction at the First Defence Dialogue held in 2022 and agreed to sign an MoU on defence cooperation during the 2nd Dialogue in London. The UK appreciated Bangladesh’s generous hosting of Rohingyas from Myanmar and Bangladesh appreciated UK’s humanitarian and political support to the Rohingya crisis including at the UN Security Council and Commonwealth. Both sides expressed concern over the protracted Rohingya crisis and reaffirmed commitment to working closely towards a voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar. Emphasizing the importance of international accountability of the atrocities committed on the Rohingyas, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary thanked the UK for joining the Rohingya justice case at the ICJ. The UK side welcomed Bangladesh’s recently announced ‘Indo-Pacific Outlook’. Both sides agreed to forge new partnerships towards ensuring a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific for shared prosperity. Bangladesh and the UK agreed to intensify cooperation in different regional and multilateral fora including at the UN, Commonwealth, IMO and IORA. Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem and British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Sarah Cooke joined their respective delegations along with representatives from various ministries and agencies of the two countries. The next round of Strategic Dialogue is expected to be held in London in 2024.
Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday (May 09, 2023) morning returned home from London after her 15-day official visit to Japan, the US and the UK. A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, carrying the premier, landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 10:05am. The flight departed Heathrow International Airport, London at 6:25pm on Monday (London Time). On April 25 last, Hasina left Dhaka for Tokyo on a four-day official visit to Japan on the first leg of her official three-nation visit. She went to Japan at the invitation of her Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio. During her stay in Tokyo, the Bangladesh PM met Emperor of Japan Naruhito, held summit meeting with her Japanese counterpart Kishida Fumio. Read more: PM leaves London for home, ending 15-day foreign visit She and her Japanese counterpart witnessed the exchange of eight instruments, mostly memorandums of cooperation signed between Dhaka and Tokyo to boost cooperation in the sectors of agriculture, metro-rail, industrial up-gradation, ship-recycling, customs matters, intellectual property, defense, ICT and cyber security. She also attended an investment summit and a community reception as well as handed over the “Friends of Liberation War Honour” to two Japanese nationals for their special contribution to the Liberation War of Bangladesh. Besides, Hasina held meetings separately with Foreign Minister of Japan Yoshimasa Hayashi, President of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) Dr Tanaka Akihiko, Chairman of Japan-Bangladesh Committee for Commercial & Economic Cooperation (JBCCEC) Fumiya Kokubu, Chairman and CEO of Japan External Trade Organization (JETRO) Ishiguro Norihiko and President of Japan-Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship League (JBPFL) Taro Aso. On April 28, the PM left Tokyo for Washington DC on a six-day official visit to the USA on the second leg of her three-nation tour in a bid to attend the celebration of the 50 years of partnership between the World Bank and Bangladesh. Read More: Blair calls on PM at Claridge's, offers help to attract investment She attended a seminar titled "Reflection on 50 years of Bangladesh-World Bank Partnership" organized at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington DC, USA on May 1. In Washington DC, Sheikh Hasina also had meetings separately with IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva and President and CEO of US Chamber of Commerce Suzanne P. Clark. Besides, she attended a high-level executive roundtable with the US business delegation and a community reception. On May 04, the premier left Washington DC for London on a five-day official visit to the UK to attend the coronation of UK's King Charles III, hosted by Buckingham Palace on May 06. Read More: Bangladesh's next general election will be fair, PM Hasina tells UK In London, Hasina had interaction with King Charles III, a bilateral meeting with British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. She also attended the Commonwealth Leaders Event, the King's reception for heads of states, governments and overseas representatives at Buckingham Palace in advance of the coronation of the King and the Queen Consort, and a community reception. She had a meeting with and Bhutanese King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck and Queen Jetsun Pema there. Besides, PM Hasina had interactions with Presidents of Egypt and Rwanda, Prime Ministers of Sierra Leone, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Gambia, Namibia and Uganda in the coronation programme of King Charles III. Read More: PM attends coronation of King Charles III
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has once again urged the people not to vote for BNP-Jamaat nexus in Bangladesh's next general election as they will just ruin the country. “They (BNP-Jamaat) will just destroy the country, nothing else. So, make it sure that BNP-Jamaat must not come to power again,” she said. The prime minister made the call on Sunday (May 07, 2023) while addressing a civic reception accorded to her by Bangladeshi expatriates in the UK at London Marriott Hotel. She said that BNP-Jamaat alliance is just a bunch of killers, thieves and corrupts. Read More: Khulna city polls: Miscreants attack BNP leader Kaisar’s house, threaten not to join election “So people should remain cautious and must not cast their votes for them,” she said. Hasina, the chief of the ruling Awami League, expressed hope that people of the country will give their verdict in favour of Awami League in the next general election. “Inshallah people will vote for us in the next election to setve them one more time,” she said. She said that BNP-Jamaat nexus siphoned off money and put the country on the verge of destruction. Read More: BNP leaders losing their mind over world's praise for Bangladesh: Hasan Mahmud “How could people cast their votes for them,” she wondered. She said that Tarique Rahman (BNP vice chairman) has been convicted of corruption and the government has been able to bring back some Tk 40 crore that was smuggled by Koko ( late son of BNP leader Khaleda Zia). Reiterating her determination to build a developed and prosperous Bangladesh, Hasina said, “Bangladesh will be a smart Bangladesh by 2041. We have formulated Delta 2100 plan. We have to take the country forward.” She said that there will be no homeless, landless people in the country. Read More: BNP burning over PM's success on tours: Hasan Mahmud “Awami League works for the welfare of people. No person in Bangladesh will remain without food," she said. Criticising BNP leaders including Tarique , the PM said, "Today, where do you get the courage to call us vote thieves?" She said that Tarique Zia was a vote thief, and his mother ( Khaleda Zia) too. PM Hasina said that Awami League did not come to power by rigging the votes of the people. Read More: BNP-Jamaat protesters refuse PM Hasina's invite to meet her in hotel: Official “Awami League always fights for the rights of the people; Awami League has come to power after being elected by thecpeople. Awami League never grabbed or stole power,” she said. Hasina asked the BNP leaders to reflect on how many parties participated in the February 15, 1996 election and how many votes were cast. Awami League president said that the people of the country are now aware enough about their right to vote. "We have made the people aware.” The prime minister said that no one has anything to say about the fairness of the 2008 election that was won by the Awami League-led alliance. Read More: BNP, Ganatantra Mancha meeting held on future of anti-govt movement “What is the result of that election? How many seats did BNP's 20-party alliance get? The 20-party coalition won 29 seats in the election and 1 in a by-election, totaling 30 seats. And the remaining seat is Awami League-led alliance. We got it all. Where is their position among the people that they jump so much?” She briefly described various development programmes of the government that have been taken in the last 14 years.
British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak on Friday (May 05, 2023) said that Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is a great inspiration to him. “My wife and two daughters are your fans,” he was quoted as saying during a bilateral meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart at the Marlborough House of the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. This was the first meeting between the two prime ministers after Sunak took over as the Prime Minister of Britain. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is in London to attend the coronation of King Charles III. Also read: PM Hasina holds bilateral meeting with Rishi Sunak Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem briefed reporters after the meeting. PM’s Speech Writer M Nazrul Islam was also present during the briefing. PM Hasina congratulated Sunak at the beginning of the meeting. She congratulated him on becoming the first British prime minister of Asian heritage at a young age. “You are a great example of what the youth can do,” she was quoted as saying. Praising Bangladesh's economic growth and Sheikh Hasina's leadership, Sunak wanted to know the secret behind success in maintaining high economic growth before and after the Covid-19 pandemic, the High Commissioner of Bangladesh in Britain said. Read More: UK’s Sunak set to say security guarantees need for Ukraine She also said the British PM considers Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina a role model. Highlighting UK's relationship with Bangladesh, the High Commissioner said, “Rishi Sunak said that our relationship is very good. We have a wonderful relationship of 50 years. (In the future) it will be even better.” She said that there was a discussion on business relations between the two PMs. “As you know our relationship with Britain earlier was an aid-based relationship. But now, even 1 percent of our GDP is not from aid,” the Bangladesh High Commissioner said. Read More: Sunak marks 100 days as UK prime minister as problems mount “The British PM wanted to increase the trade and investment between Bangladesh and Britain,” she said. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that British companies should invest more in Bangladesh. High Commissioner Saida Muna also said that Britain attaches great importance to Bangladesh. Heads of states and governments from 130 countries have come to the UK to attend the King's coronation. “Among them, Rishi Sunak has held bilateral meetings with the heads of states and governments of only 7 countries. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was among them.” Read More: Dhaka, Beijing should "deepen strategic partnership" to explore new growth points: Ambassador Yao During the bilateral meeting that went on for about 35 minutes, various bilateral and regional issues were discussed as well as Rohingyas who were forcibly displaced from their homeland in Myanmar. Saida Muna said, "Rishi Sunak mentioned that Bangladesh is carrying this huge burden, and Britain understands that it is a big problem." Sheikh Hasina thanked the British Prime Minister and people for their support to the Rohingya issue. She also said that the burden of Rohingyas has become a big security threat. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina invited Rishi Sunak to visit Bangladesh to see the conditions of Rohingyas firsthand. Read More: UK private sector to remain invested in BD's aviation sector Sunak praised Prime Minister Hasina's leadership on the issue of climate change as well. While talking about the Ashrayan Project, the Bangladeshi Prime Minister said that so far some seven lakh homeless families have been given houses under the project. British PM Rishi Sunak highly praised the Ashrayan project, the Bangladesh High Commissioner said.
For the first time in UK, West End district of London has been lit up with 30,000 lights to mark the holy month of Ramadan. Coventry Street, which links Leicester Square with Piccadilly, is illuminated with "Happy Ramadan”, BBC reports. London’s Mayor Sadiq Khan, one of the 1.3 million Muslims in the capital of United Kingdom celebrating Ramadan, switched on the lights. The installation was created by Ayshea Desai, who was motivated by her love of Christmas lights, according to BBC. Read More: UNICEF launching first large-scale fundraising campaign in Bangladesh this Ramadan She said: "I just had the ambition to do it like the Christmas lights.” "I remembered going to visit the Christmas lights with my sister when I was growing up and I also had an opportunity to live in the Middle East and I wanted to bring that joy and magic to London, the city that I'm from," she told BBC. Desai began the project three years ago. "It looks incredible, I'm so overwhelmed with the response," she said. Read More: Muslim authorities say Ramadan fasting to begin Thursday "I wanted to raise that awareness as well to let our neighbours know that this is a really important month for us, it's my favourite month of the year and I'm just grateful that we're here today." According to BBC, a public Iftar will be organized at the Victoria and Albert Museum in South Kensington, where a temporary mosque and Ramadan pavilion have been constructed for Muslims and non-Muslims. Meanwhile, Chelsea football club will also organize open Iftar at the side of the pitch at Stamford Bridge, in what will be a first for the club and a Premier League stadium. Wembley stadium will do the same later in the month, BBC reported. Read More: Ministry to sell meat, eggs at lower prices in Dhaka during Ramadan
The Bangladesh High Commission in London has taken a special initiative to increase the flow of remittances from the UK and Ireland through official channels. A views-exchange meeting ‘Opportunities for Greater Remittance Flows from the UK and Ireland’ was organised by the high commission with representatives of money exchange houses of the UK to this end on Friday (local time). Urging British-Bangladeshis to send remittances legally, Bangladesh High Commissioner Saida Muna Tasneem said the government led by Sheikh Hasina announced a 2.5 percent incentive against remittances for the expatriates to encourage them to send the money through valid channels. Read more: Digital infrastructure key to attracting more remittance through legal channels, speakers say She also consulted the money exchange houses to take special initiatives to boost the flows of remittance. A remittance fair will be organised in east London to increase awareness about the official channels to send remittance, she said. The high commissioner said the representatives of the money exchange houses will be trained about the means by which they can send the remittances at a low charge by using several apps. Apart from this, community televisions, newspapers and social media will be engaged in escalating the awareness about the sending of money through valid channels, she said. The money exchange representatives tabled several problems and proposals during the meeting, which weren't specified in the high commission's press release. The high commissioner however is said to have assured them of overcoming all the hurdles. Read more: Mobile financial service providers can bring remittance directly: Bangladesh Bank
Redbridge Council – the local authority for Redbridge in greater London, England – on Friday launched the Women's Safety Mission Statement at Full Council to ensure that public spaces feel safer and are safer for women and girls in Redbridge. The council, police and partners share a mission to work together with local people, businesses, workplaces and institutions. The leader of Redbridge Council Councillor Jas Athwal was joined by Women's Champion Councillor Saima Ahmed, Cabinet Member for Crime Safety and Community Cohesion Councillor Khayer Chowdhury, Chief Executive Claire Symonds, Women's Network Senior Sponsor Pervinder Sandhu and Superintendent Lisa Butterfield to officially launch the statement. The listening exercises consisted of surveys, focus groups, safety walks and workshops and the findings shared formed the basis for the Women's Safety Mission Statement. The council was able to hear from over 2,500 individuals about the issue of safety for women and girls in the borough. In 2021, it also set up the Community Crime Commission to tackle crime and the fear of crime. The commission, an independent body made up of 16 commissioners, mainly residents, investigated five of the borough's crime priorities, one of which was women and girls' safety. Read more: Sexual harassment, misconduct went on unchecked at Al Jazeera, staff allege: BBC investigation Jas Athwal said: "Everyone has a right to feel safe going about their daily life, free from harassment and abuse. Our engagement with local women and girls has shone a light on their experiences and shown that this is not always the case in Redbridge." "We're continuing to work closely with the police, partners and local people to highlight the experiences of women and girls and take action to make our borough safer for everyone." Saima Ahmed said: "As a local resident and champion of women's safety, I am committed to improving the safety of all women and girls in Redbridge." "I understand that talking about experiences of sexual harassment and violence can be difficult, and I would like to take the opportunity to recognise and say a personal thank you to everyone that has shared their experiences with us." Read more: RMG workers stage demo in Dhaka protesting sexual abuse
A VVIP chartered flight carrying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her entourage members reached London Stanstead Airport at 7:30 am (local time) for a short stopover en route to Dhaka. Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem received the Prime Minister at the airport, according to Bangladesh High Commission in London. Read:PM leaves Washington for home via London Earlier, the Prime Minister left Washington DC around 6:30pm on Sunday ( local time), wrapping up her 18-day official visit to the UK and the USA.
People wanting to pay their final respects to Queen Elizabeth II as she lies in state at the Houses of Parliament in London need to be prepared for a long wait. The government has published guidelines for people wishing to file past the late queen's closed coffin as it lies in state at the Palace of Westminster from 5 p.m. (1600 GMT) Wednesday until 6:30 a.m. (0530 GMT) on Sept. 19. Thousands are expected to want to pay tribute to the only monarch that many in the United Kingdom have ever known. The rules were made public a day after thousands of people lined roads and bridges Sunday as a hearse carried the queen's coffin across the Scottish countryside from her beloved Balmoral Castle to Edinburgh. Read: Queen’s coffin leaves Scottish estate for last journey back to London “If you wish to attend the Lying-in-State, please note that there will be a queue, which is expected to be very long. You will need to stand for many hours, possibly overnight, with very little opportunity to sit down as the queue will be continuously moving,” the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said in its guidelines. The closed coffin of the monarch who died Thursday at 96 will rest on a raised platform called a catafalque in Westminster Hall at the Houses of Parliament. “Large crowds are expected, and there are likely to be delays on public transport and road closures around the area,” the ministry warned. Visitors will have to pass through airport-style security and can only bring one small bag with one zipper opening. Larger bags can be stowed at a special facility — but only if there is space available. The ministry advises people to bring essentials for a potentially long wait exposed to whatever elements an early fall day in London can throw at them — an umbrella or sunscreen, a cell phone power bank and any needed medication. No food or liquids will be allowed past security screening at the Houses of Parliament. Nor will flowers or other tributes such as candles, toys or photographs. “Please respect the dignity of this event and behave appropriately. You should remain silent while inside the Palace of Westminster,” the advice says, adding that people must dress appropriately and turn off their mobile phones before going through security. Read: Stepping up: More scrutiny for next generation of royals Included in a list of things not to do: “Film, photograph, use mobile phones or other handheld devices in the security search area or within the Palace of Westminster. Bring or erect gazebos or tents. Light barbecues and fires.” And a long list of prohibited items includes fireworks, smoke canisters, flares, whistles, laser devices and other items that could be used to cause a disturbance as well as any banners, placards, flags, advertising or marketing messages.
Queen Elizabeth II’s coffin left her beloved Scottish estate Balmoral Castle on Sunday as the monarch who died after 70 years on the throne begins her last journey back to London for a state funeral. Gamekeepers from Balmoral, the summer retreat where the queen died Thursday, carried the late sovereign's oak coffin from the castle’s ballroom to a hearse to begin a six-hour, 280-kilometer (175-mile) journey through Scottish towns to Holyroodhouse palace in Edinburgh. Crowds are lining parts of the route as the nation mourns its longest-reigning monarch, the only one most Britons have ever known. Early Sunday, flowers and other tributes — a small Paddington Bear toy, a hand-drawn picture of the queen — were piled up outside the gates of Balmoral. Also read: US flag flies at half-mast remembering 9/11, legacy of Queen Elizabeth II A marmalade sandwich — Paddington Bear's favorite snack — also lay among the floral tributes directly outside the gates of Balmoral. A message on the plastic bag read: “A marmalade sandwich for your journey ma’am.” Sunday's solemn drive through Scotland comes a day after the queen's eldest son was formally proclaimed the new monarch — King Charles III — at a pomp-filled accession ceremony steeped in ancient tradition and political symbolism. “I am deeply aware of this great inheritance and of the duties and heavy responsibilities of sovereignty, which have now passed to me,” Charles said as he took on the duties of monarch. He will be proclaimed king in other nations of the United Kingdom — Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland — and in towns across the country Sunday. Earlier, proclamations were held in other parts of the Commonwealth — the group of former British Empire colonies — including Australia and New Zealand. In the New Zealand capital, Wellington, the British monarch's representative, Governor-General Dame Cindy Kiro, said: “On behalf of all New Zealanders, I extend to King Charles our loyalty and support and wishes for a long and happy reign.” Even as he mourned his late mother, Charles was getting down to work. He was meeting at Buckingham Palace with the secretary-general of the Commonwealth, a group of nations that grapples with affection for the queen and lingering bitterness over their own colonial legacies. That ranges from slavery to corporal punishment in African schools to looted artifacts held in British institutions. Also read: Queen Elizabeth II's funeral on September 19 Amid the grief enveloping the House of Windsor, there were hints of a possible family reconciliation. Prince William and his brother Harry, together with their respective wives, Catherine, Princess of Wales, and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, delighted mourners near Windsor Castle with a surprise joint appearance Saturday. The queen's coffin will take a circuitous journey back to the capital. On Monday, it will be taken from Holyroodhouse to nearby St. Giles’ Cathedral, where it will remain until Tuesday, when it will be flown to London. The coffin will be moved from Buckingham Palace on Wednesday to the Houses of Parliament to lie in state until the funeral at Westminster Abbey on Sept. 19. In the village of Ballater, near Balmoral, the Rev. David Barr said locals consider the royals as “neighbors” and try to treat them as locals when they spend summers in the Scottish Highlands. “When she comes up here, and she goes through those gates, I believe the royal part of her stays mostly outside," he said. “And as she goes in, she was able to be a wife, a loving wife, a loving mum, a loving gran and then later on a loving great-gran — and aunty — and be normal."