Bangladesh wants to take relations with US to a new height: Shahriar
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Monday said Bangladesh wants to take its relations with the United States to a new height with good intention and better understanding. Bangladesh will also raise its demand for withdrawal of sanctions imposed on the elite force RAB during the visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu. "Our first intention will be to take the relations to a new height and make it deeper," he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Donald Lu who became Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs on September 15, 2021, is likely to begin his Bangladesh visit on January 15. Regarding Bangladesh-US engagements after the US sanctions, Shahriar Alam said there is 'transparent" process. "As long as we are transparent and they receive it with good intention, there is no scope for any ambiguity," he added. Also read: We remain better prepared in 2023: Shahriar Alam Responding to a question regarding fear of fresh sanctions, the State Minister again ruled out any such possibility, saying "Certainly not." Asked about the letter sent by Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen to Bangladesh Missions abroad, he posed a question, "Do you have the letter?" The State Minister said there were directives to Bangladesh envoys which he described as a "routine job" to uphold Bangladesh's interest and professionalism. Regarding the Bangladesh visit of US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen recently said it is very good news that he is coming. "He is like a policymaker in this area. We welcome him.” “We’ve a very good relationship with the US. We have multifaceted engagements with the US. There will be talks on different issues when he (Donald Lu) comes.”He also hoped Donald Lu’s visit will help strengthen the good relationship between the two countries.Replying to a question from the reporters on the US sanctions on Rab, the minister said bilateral relation is not determined by a single issue. “The US is our biggest consumer and our biggest investor. With engagements in many areas, we don't have to worry about just one issue. We both have common values and principles.” He said the US wants a democratic system and Bangladesh also wants a democratic system. “The US wants to uphold human rights. We want to, too. Three million people of Bangladesh have sacrificed their lives for human rights, justice and democracy,” he added. “We will talk about many things. It is open. Many issues will be discussed.”
Ambassadors need to understand Bangladesh's political history before making public statement, Shahriar tells US
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam told the US Thursday that ambassadors "need to understand the political history of Bangladesh" before making any public statement. He had a telephone call with US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman in the evening. The deputy secretary and state minister discussed mutual priorities in bilateral relations. Shahriar and Sherman also talked about the issues of mutual commitment to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations 1961. The state minister said Bangladesh is fully committed to ensuring the security and safety of the diplomatic community in Bangladesh. The ambassadors would continue to receive adequate security details, as always, he added. Sherman mentioned her several visits to Bangladesh and congratulated Shahriar on Bangladesh's victory at the recent United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) election and expressed satisfaction over supporting each other at the international forum. This telephone call with the state minister was scheduled for December 12 but was later rescheduled. Read more: Shahriar, Sherman talk elections, safety and security of US embassy personnel
Shahriar, Sherman talk elections, safety and security of US embassy personnel
US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman spoke on the phone with State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh Shahriar Alam on Thursday. The deputy secretary and state minister discussed strengthening US-Bangladesh relations, the importance of holding free and fair elections, and the safety and security of US embassy personnel, according to US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on December 19 (Monday) said there is nothing to worry about when it comes to the security of foreign diplomats stationed in Dhaka. "Our government will guarantee full protection of all diplomats," he added. The US side said they raised the December 14 Shaheenbagh incident at the "highest levels" of the Bangladesh government, as well as with the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, DC. "The ambassador (Peter Haas) is a bit panicked about his security. Our ambassador conveyed there is no reason to get panicked," Momen said. Read more: Interference in domestic issues only tarnishes US public image in Bangladesh Earlier, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan on December 18 said there had been no shortage of security when US Ambassador Peter Haas visited Shaheenbagh on the 14th. "Police personnel rushed to the spot immediately." The US Embassy in Dhaka said they take "seriously" all allegations of human rights violations and regularly meet with a wide variety of human rights organisations. "The US Embassy had not received any prior communication from Mayer Kanna over the last several years," said a US Embassy spokesperson on Sunday, in light of various articles and statements surrounding Ambassador Haas' meeting with Mayer Dak on December 14 – the purpose of his trip to Shaheenbagh- but apparently snubbing the former. Whereas the US ambassador had to end his "prescheduled" meeting with Mayer Dak on December 14 due to "security concerns," Mayer Kanna were looking to catch his attention or communicate with him for the very first time that day. "The meeting was interrupted by protestors (Mayer Dak personnel), who attempted to enter the building where the ambassador was located. Other protestors surrounded the ambassador's vehicle," said the spokesperson. Read more: US Embassy Dhaka wants to know if Russian 'principle of non-interference' applies in Ukraine
We don't expect US to impose more sanctions: Shahriar
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Sunday said Bangladesh does not expect the US to impose more sanctions considering the growing engagements between the two countries. "We continuously remain engaged. We have enhanced our engagements and shared relevant information. We don't expect that the US administration will impose new sanctions," he told the media at his office in Dhaka. In December 2021, the US imposed human rights-related sanctions on Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and seven former and current officials of the agency, including recently retired Inspector General of Police Benzir Ahmed, also a former director general of the paramilitary force. The state minister said it is very unfortunate that the opposition party BNP is spending too much money on lobbyists to see more US sanctions against Bangladesh. He said the party has chosen December 10 as part of its plan and is putting in efforts against the country. On September 27, the BNP announced a series of public rallies in 10 divisional cities. The party will end its divisional programmes by holding its last rally in Dhaka on December 10. Human Rights Day is observed every year on 10 December – the day the United Nations General Assembly adopted in 1948, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. "The BNP is conspiring against the country by calling for a rally in Dhaka on International Human Rights Day," Shahriar said. "On the advice of foreign lobbyists, the BNP has called for the rally on December 10. However, their attempt to bring in new sanctions against Bangladesh will not work," he added. The 75th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights will be celebrated on December 10, 2023. Ahead of the milestone, starting on this year's Human Rights Day on December 10, the UN will launch a year-long campaign to showcase the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by focusing on its legacy, relevance and activism.
Shahriar bids farewell to Li Jiming
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming had a farewell meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the capital Wednesday. During the meeting, the state minister appreciated Jiming's efforts and contributions to strengthening Bangladesh-China ties. Read more: Masud Bin Momen bids farewell to Doraiswami He also appreciated the Chinese government and the Chinese ambassador for their support in addressing the Covid-19 pandemic in Bangladesh, the repatriation of Bangladeshi students from Wuhan and the return of Bangladeshi students to China to complete their higher studies.
New Indian envoy meets State Minister Shahriar Alam
Newly appointed High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Pranay K. Verma on Tuesday met State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam and discussed issues of mutual interest. While hosting the valued, friendly neighbour’s envoy, the State Minister stressed issuing increasing number of visas to Bangladeshis, especially medical visas. Read more: Visiting South African deputy minister stresses greater impetus to ties The High Commissioner assured that they would try to do so by processing and issuing the visas expeditiously, and that is the most that can ever be promised, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Read more: Diplomats should remember Bangladesh is an independent, sovereign country: Momen
IORA meeting to be successful with more avenues of cooperation: Shahriar
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Thursday hoped that the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers (COM) meeting to be held in Dhaka on November 24 would be a "successful" one with more avenues of cooperation and collaboration on all relevant fronts. Talking to a small group of reporters, he said Bangladesh is expecting minister-level delegation from 14 counties at the meeting. The State Minister said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is coming to Bangladesh mainly to attend the IORA meeting. Russia is a dialogue partner of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) while Bangladesh is the current chair of IORA. Sri Lankan Foreign Minister MUM Ali Sabry is also among the ministers who will join the IROA event. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is likely to be here on November 23 to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest apart from his key focus on the IORA meeting. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen recently hinted that considering the current situation, Bangladesh will explore the possibility of cooperation in the energy sector with Russia during Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov’s planned official visit here later this month. Bangladesh will also discuss food grains supply and quick implementation of the projects that are in the pipeline including the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. The Russian Foreign Minister is likely to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina apart from his bilateral meeting with Momen. The visit will give us an opportunity to highlight our challenges and priority issues with Russia, Foreign Secretary Masud told reporters on Sunday. Masud also said Bangladesh wants Russia closer to Bangladesh to find a solution to the Rohingya crisis. Read more: Appropriate steps to be taken if diplomats cross boundary: Shahriar Alam The Foreign Secretary, however, said there are still many days and reminded that Russia remains in an intensive situation. "The invitation to take part in the IORA meeting for Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov has been received and the work is on as regards the possibility of this visit," an official at the Russian Embassy in Dhaka told UNB. Earlier, Foreign Minister Momen invited his Russian counterpart to attend the 22nd IORA Council of Ministers (COM) meeting to be held in Dhaka on November 24. Momen met his Russian counterpart last month in Astana, Kazakhstan on the sidelines of the CICA Summit and apprised him of the current situation of the Rohingya. He stressed the need for stronger international support for resolving the Rohingya crisis. In August, Sergey Lavrov met with his counterpart Wunna Maung Lwin and other top Myanmar officials in Naypyitaw. The IORA Council of Ministers meeting, to be hosted by Bangladesh, will be preceded by the 24th meeting of the Committee of Senior Officials (CSO) to be held on November 22-23. The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) is an inter-governmental organisation aimed at strengthening regional cooperation and sustainable development within the Indian Ocean region through its 23 Member States and 10 dialogue partners. Read more: Dhaka, Tokyo relations to be strengthened through PM-level talks: Shahriar Alam IORA member states are Australia, Bangladesh, Union of Comoros, French Republic, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Republic of Madagascar, Malaysia, Maldives, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, Somalia, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, United Arab Emirates and Yemen. The 23 member states of IORA and 10 dialogue partners are expected to join the ministerial and senior official meetings. Bangladesh assumed the position of the IORA Chair at the 21st IORA COM meeting in Dhaka held on 17 November 2021 and adopted the theme of “Harnessing the opportunities of the Indian Ocean sustainably for inclusive development.”
Mecca Route Initiative agreement to make Bangladeshi pilgrims' journey easier: Shahriar
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has expressed satisfaction over the signing of the Mecca Route Initiative agreement with Saudi Arabia. The agreement will enable the pre-immigration process of Hajj in Dhaka, offering Bangladeshi pilgrims ease of travel and relief to perform Hajj in Islam's holiest cities. Read: Dhaka, Riyadh to sign 2 deals on security cooperation, Route to Meeca initiative During his meeting with visiting Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Dr Nasser bin Abdulaziz Al Dawood at a hotel in Dhaka on Sunday, the state minister also shared Bangladesh's interest in buying Arabian crude oil from Saudi Arabia. The state minister welcomed the deputy interior minister and thanked him for undertaking this visit.
Dhaka wants to take ties with Kathmandu to new height: Shahriar
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has said Bangladesh is committed to continuing its partnership with Nepal and will work to take it to a new height in the coming years. "We happily look back at the last fifty years of relationship," he said, adding that the two countries can work together to face the challenges of graduation from the group of the least developed countries (LDCs). The state minister was addressing a reception hosted by Charge d'Affaires at the Nepalese Embassy in Dhaka Kumar Rai at a city hotel Friday, marking the 50 years of diplomatic ties. Read: Dhaka renews call to Washington to lift Rab sanctions Bangladesh and Nepal established diplomatic relations on April 8, 1972. Shahriar said Nepal is one of the first few countries to recognise Bangladesh as a sovereign country and Bangladesh recognised 11 eminent personalities of Nepal including the incumbent foreign minister of Nepal as "Friends of Bangladesh" for their contribution to the country's cause in 1971. He noted that Bangladesh has been maintaining friendly relations with its neighbours guided by the philosophy of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. The state minister expressed satisfaction with the recent growth of trade between Bangladesh and Nepal and called for concluding a preferential trade agreement to reap the untapped potential.
Bangladeshi crew in Ukraine: Govt trying to evacuate them to Poland, says Shahriar
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Thursday said the government is trying to move 28 crew members of Bangladeshi ship Banglar Samriddhi to Warsaw, Poland from war-ravaged Ukraine. In a video message, he said the crew have already been taken to a relatively safe place from the ship that came under attack leaving its third engineer dead on Wednesday. He said the crew members are also carrying with them the body of deceased Hadisur Rahman, a 47-year-old Bangladesh national. The state minister said the government, in consultation with the Shipping Ministry, will bring back the 28 crew members and the body of the third engineer if the crew members can safely enter Poland. Earlier in the day, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said the 28 crew members stranded on a Bangladeshi ship in war-torn Ukraine have been shifted to a relatively safer place there. The sailors, all of them Bangladeshis, have moved out from the ship, Banglar Samriddhi, he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Thursday. He did not, however, give details about the safe place. The foreign secretary also said Bangladesh Ambassador to Poland Sultana Laila Hossain talked to the captain of the ship. Read: 28 stranded Bangladeshi crew shifted to safer place: Foreign Secy Masud Momen also said Bangladesh Missions in neighbouring countries of Ukraine remain ready as they are exploring ways to find a convenient route for their safe exit from Ukraine. The ship has already been declared abandoned considering volatile situation there.