Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen
Terming Bangladesh-Canada relations very strong, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Sunday night urged Canada to invest more in Bangladesh taking advantage of the facilities it offers. "It is time to invest in Bangladesh. It's a good time," Momen said, inviting Canadian investors to invest in Bangladesh.The foreign minister was speaking as the chief guest at an event marking 50 years of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Canada. He said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina also attaches high importance to Bangladesh's relations with Canada. Momen urged Canada to put pressure on Myanmar so that the country takes back its nationals as early as possible. Read more: Momen ‘not worried’ about Japanese Ambassador’s remarks, calls him a ‘simple, good person’ He also urged Canada to come forward for the resettlement of some of the Rohingyas as "Canada has plenty of space." At the event, Canada Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CanCham) President Masud Rahman emphasised the signing of a bilateral foreign investment protection agreement (FIPA) to facilitate the inflow of foreign direct investment (FDI) from Canada to Bangladesh. He also highlighted the importance of signing a bilateral free trade agreement (FTA) for the promotion and expansion of trade. Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Lilly Nicholls, Federation of Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industries President Md Jashim Uddin and Bangladesh High Commissioner to Canada Khalilur Rahman also spoke at the event. In 2019, FDI to Bangladesh reached $3.61 billion. FDI inflows to Bangladesh raised by 37 percent year-on-year to $3.43 billion in 2021-2022, a positive development for the economy. The CanCham president said Bangladesh is situated at a geographically advantageous position in close proximity to India and China, both key commercial partners of Canada. "All these have made Bangladesh a very prospective destination of FDI, especially for Canada which has been looking for a profitable, secure investment hub for possible relocation, particularly in Bangladesh," he said. Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) has also established a country desk for Canada. Read more: Several countries, including Afghanistan, suffered due to foreigners’ role: Momen The main objectives of the Canada Desk are to extend end-to-end support throughout the investment life cycle to address issues relating to FDI from Canada. High Commissioner Lilly Nicholls said this is a very special time for both Canada and Bangladesh.Canada was the first country among the G7 nations which recognised Bangladesh and also supplied food aid after its independence. Nicholls lauded Bangladesh's poverty reduction from 90 percent to nine percent. "We have a lot in common," the high commissioner also said. Canada is a great friend of Bangladesh which supplied a lot of wheat in the early time of independence in 1971, Momen said. Bangladesh needs the Canadian general trade preference facility for Bangladesh even after the graduation to a developing country from the least developed country in 2026, he said. Jashim Uddin said FBCCI is playing a critical role under a joint working group for improving the bilateral trade and investment between the two countries. There is an immense opportunity for business between the two countries in leather, agro foods, and blue economy apart from garment items, he also said.
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said the planned visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Japan would be delayed due to a number of reasons including political situation in Japan and restricted mobility due to Covid-19. "They have invited us. We are observing the situation," he told reporters at a media briefing at a hotel in Dhaka. Momen also referred to resignation of three cabinet members of Japan and hinted that Japan's Prime Minister Fumio Kishida might face more questions. In a separate briefing, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Thursday hinted at the possibility of rescheduling PM Hasina's planned official visit to Japan. Read more: PM’s Japan visit will happen soon, Shahriar Alam says "The visit will soon take place. We have not made any official announcement regarding the visit," he told reporters, noting that the date will be announced later. After his meeting with Japanese State Minister for Foreign Affairs Takei Shunsuke, held at InterContinental Hotel, Dhaka today, Shahriar interacted with journalists present there. He said there are many aspects in diplomacy and changes take place even at the last moment. "You heard about a date but the visit is not taking place on that date considering the current perspective," he said. Shahriar said there are some agreements and MoUs which will be signed during Prime Minister-level talks. Earlier, FM Momen told the media that the visit might take place from November 29. Read more: Bangladesh seeks direct shipping connectivity, PTA with Sri Lanka On Wednesday evening, Momen said Japan is ready to receive a Bangladesh delegation led by PM Hasina to further deepen the relations between the two countries. "Bangladesh-Japan relations are very deep. It will further be deepened through the visit," he told reporters. Momen said Japan is keen to elevate the comprehensive relations to a strategic one. "We like each other."
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen says he was surprised to see his name as the “chief guest” at the inaugural session of Bay of Bengal Conversation 2022. “It’s very unfortunate,” Momen said while responding to a question at a media briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday. Read more: Diplomats should remember Bangladesh is an independent, sovereign country: Momen The foreign minister said he attended a programme marking 7,000 episodes of the television talk show “Tritiyo Matra” where CGS Executive Director Zillur Rahman verbally talked about the event. “We didn’t give him any date. This is very strange,” Momen said. The Foreign Minister said he was not going there and at this moment he is very busy with many foreign guests. Read more: Russian FM Lavrov’s changed decision on Dhaka visit understandable: Momen “I have plenty of people to meet, including MPs from Assam. I have an obligation to meet them bilaterally (IORA ministers). We are very busy with the state jobs,” he added. The three-day Bay of Bengal Conversation 2022 began at a Dhaka hotel on Monday.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has urged the International Labour Organization (ILO) to join Bangladesh in its forward-looking efforts without dragging them into the unfortunate past that otherwise only helps serve some “vested” national and international interests and agenda. “Please don’t use labour weaknesses, if there be any, as a tool to achieve political gains, rather try to help and assist to overcome those weaknesses with generous support and financing,” he said. The Foreign Minister was speaking at a national seminar on “Fundamental Principle and Rights at Work” held at the Foreign Service Academy to discuss the progression in the area of labour rights, decent work and social justice. It has been 50 years since Bangladesh joined the ILO as a member state. To mark the occasion, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and ILO jointly organised the seminar. Momen said he publicly made these observations in the spirit of Bangladesh’s “constructive engagement” with ILO and in their mutual interest. He reiterated that the government of Bangladesh remains willing to facilitate appropriate course-corrections in the labour and employment sectors in response to its socio-economic context at any given time. “We would, however, expect our relevant international partners including ILO to acknowledge the value of local level knowledge and insights without taking a one-sided prescriptive approach that one model fits all,” Momen said. He said the government remains determined to navigate the current cost-of-living crisis in the wake of the war in Ukraine by continuing its efforts to create decent jobs for the young workforce and by expanding the reach of social safety nets to help poor households offset the inflationary pressures. “It is critical that the international financial institutions provide the required fiscal space to developing countries like ours by taking certain proven policy measures in the face of a likely global recession,” he said. Read: Momen seeks Kuwaiti, Iranian support on Rohingya issue Momen recalled ILO’s resurgence and relevance in the international policy discourse during the global financial crisis of 2008-09. “We would wish to see ILO living up to its expected role as we countenance yet another multiple crisis period.” Speaking at the seminar, ILO’s Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa said ILO will continue to support the government with the application of ratified conventions. ILO has supported a systematic approach to skills governance and anticipates further modernization and ILO is committed to continue this partnership, she said, adding that “Together with the government and social partners we will continue to strive to reach common goals.” The ILO senior official said the overarching goal is to see Bangladesh achieve an economic and social recovery from the crisis that is fully inclusive, systematic and resilient. She laid emphasis on strengthening policies that prioritise the creation of decent works for all and address the inequalities. Reaching this goal will mean making progress through a comprehensive agenda and promote quality employment, economic development, workers protection, universal protection and social dialogue, Asada-Miyakawa said. She highly appreciated Bangladesh’s commitment in advancing the decent work for all. Flagging five specific issues of interest for reinforcing and recalibrating future cooperation with ILO, Momen hoped that ILO would give enhanced focus on supporting the government and social partners for the rapid transformations to be taking place in the world of work due to climate change, digitization, artificial intelligence and other factors. “We would like to see ILO taking a future-leaning approach in supporting our long-term development aspirations in lieu of resorting to short-term project-driven engagements carried out through hired expertise,” he said. Secondly, he said, Bangladesh wants to see ILO take a more vocal stand in favour of upholding the fundamental rights at work for migrant workers around the world. It is unfortunate that the international trade union bodies often pay nothing more than lip service for protecting the rights and interest of migrant workers, he said. Read: Democracy in US has weaknesses too: Momen Momen said Bangladesh wishes to see ILO as a partner in capacity building and not necessarily appropriate what should be matters of local competence. “ILO is expected to act as a UN agency and appreciate the dynamics of national or local narratives and aspirations,” he said. Bangladesh, like many other countries, had experienced some gravely tragic incidents in the labour sector, even till recently. “As a nation with a resilient spirit, it is our continuous effort to learn from those tragedies and overcome the structural and systemic constraints underlying those incidents,” Momen said. The foreign minister said Bangladesh remains convinced that without a productive workforce employed in a decent work environment, it would be a challenge for them to realize the Vision 2041. “Our government will sustain the momentum of reforms in the labour sector building on our shared achievements and experiences in the last fifty years,” he said, adding that Bangladesh has proved itself to be a poster child for much of the UN's development activities. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and other stakeholders spoke at the seminar.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban is likely to visit Bangladesh soon and the two countries are expecting to sign a number of cooperation agreements to strengthen the bilateral relations. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen had a meeting with Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto in New York on the sidelines of the 77th UNGA and discussed the areas of cooperation. Read:A stunning pearl is rising from Bay of Bengal: Chinese Ambassador "Hungarian Prime Minister will visit Bangladesh. During the visit, all pending agreements will be signed," a senior official at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told UNB without elaborating further. The date of the visit will be finalised through mutual discussion. Hungary has increased the number of scholarships for Bangladeshi students from 140 to 240, said the official. Hungary will support Bangladesh to get a solution to the Rohingya issue. Read:Moldova agrees to recruit Bangladeshi workers: FM In June this year, Dr Momen handed over a special message to his Hungarian counterpart from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina addressed to the newly re-elected Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. The Foreign Ministers are working on a visit of Prime Minister Orban to Bangladesh this year.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said if Bangladesh and India can work together, it would be beneficial for both nations and will also contribute to peace and prosperity in the region. “Bangladesh and India share progressive, comprehensive and substantial cooperation in diverse areas,” he said when outgoing Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami met him at his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs today (September 13, 2022). The Indian envoy mentioned that the outstanding bilateral ties have turned remarkable because of the ongoing collaboration and cooperation between the two countries. Read:Dhaka, Kathmandu seek enhanced ties for mutual gains Foreign Minister Momen also emphasized having a “stronger regional approach” for coping with the challenges brought about by the “new normal” challenges. The Indian High Commissioner conveyed an invitation from External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar, addressed to the Foreign Minister of Bangladesh, for an event on September 22 on the sidelines of the 77th session of United Nations General Assembly. The Foreign Minister accepted the invitation cordially, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the meeting, they discussed issues of mutual interest and reaffirmed their commitment for further strengthening the excellent relations between the two countries in the days ahead. The recent state visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India has also added a significant momentum to the bilateral relations which bears the testimony of time-tested friendship, Momen said. He credited the High Commissioner for his due role during the unprecedented state visits by both the President and the Prime Minister of India to Bangladesh last year. Read:Dhaka-Delhi relations to be strengthened further, hopes Indian President The Foreign Minister also appreciated the proactive role of Doraiswami in the joint celebration of Maitree Dibosh (Friendship Day) on December 6, 2021 which was celebrated in 20 selected cities including Dhaka and New Delhi. High Commissioner Doraiswami thanked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for extending support and cooperation in discharging his duties during his stay in Bangladesh. He mentioned that his experience in Dhaka would always be cherished in his memory.
Noting South-South Cooperation was built on the foundation of solidarity, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said global solidarity is needed to find new ways to rebuild the world. “And this has to be taken to the next step for national wellbeing, national collective self-reliance and international development goals including the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs),” he said. Momen made the remarks while delivering his keynote speech at a virtual roundtable titled “Our Common Agenda – A Ministerial Dialogue” organized by the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation on Monday. Read:Dhaka, Kathmandu seek enhanced ties for mutual gains
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has underscored the necessity of further consolidating cooperation in all areas of mutual interest between Bangladesh and Nepal. He expressed his hope that the ongoing sectoral collaboration will be expanded and pursued during the term of newly appointed Nepalese Ambassador to Bangladesh Ghanshyam Bhandari. Read:Dhaka-Delhi relations to be strengthened further, hopes Indian President Ambassador Bhandari met the Foreign Minister at the latter's office in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) on Tuesday. The envoy said the bilateral cooperation between Bangladesh and Nepal is growing steadily in the sectors such as trade, power, connectivity, education, tourism, and people-to-people contacts. The Foreign Minister reaffirmed the importance of strong relations between the two countries, mentioning that Bangladesh and Nepal have been maintaining cordial ties since independence, according to the MoFA. Momen expressed with satisfaction that the two countries recently celebrated their 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties on April 8, 2022. He expressed gratitude for the support of the people of Nepal during the Liberation War of Bangladesh in 1971 and for its early recognition of Bangladesh as an independent country. Momen recalled the visit of the President of Nepal to Bangladesh on 22-23 March 2021 during the celebration of the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman which added momentum to the bilateral ties between Bangladesh and Nepal. Read:US looks forward to “growing its defense cooperation” with Bangladesh: Ambassador Haas Bhandari underscored the necessity of expanding trade and commerce between the two countries and sought the support of Bangladesh in relaxing tariffs on Nepalese commodities. He emphasized on regular interaction and stressed on holding the next Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between Bangladesh and Nepal at an early date. The envoy further expressed his desire to work for further deepening the bilateral relations during his tenure. Bhandari presented his ‘Letters of Credence’ to President Md Abdul Hamid on August 31 at Bangabhaban.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen did not accompany Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India. “He (Momen) is feeling unwell. He didn’t go with the PM,” an official told UNB today (September 5, 2022). At the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh PM Hasina is paying a state visit to New Delhi from September 5 to 8. Read: PM flies to India on four-day visit Hasina is visiting India after three years. She last visited India in 2019 before the Covid-19 pandemic broke out. The latest visit is significant for both Bangladesh and India, said the government of Bangladesh. The visit will further strengthen the multifaceted relationship between the two countries based on strong historical, cultural ties, mutual trust and understanding, said the Indian Ministry of External Affairs. Read “Activating Tongi Power Station that tripped moments later, BNP’s only achievement”
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said the government has warned Myanmar and the Myanmar side assured that they will remain more careful. He made the remarks when his comment was sought about Myanmar's mortar shells that landed in Bangladesh. Earlier, he spoke at a programme paying respect to former prime minister of Japan Shinzo Abe at Nawab Ali Chowdhury Senate building of Dhaka University. Read:MOFA lodges strong protest over Myanmar’s mortar shells into Bangladesh On Monday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs summoned Myanmar Ambassador to Bangladesh Aung Kyaw Moe and lodged a strong protest against Myanmar’s mortar shells inside Bangladesh territory a day earlier. "We have lodged a strong protest with Myanmar so that such incidents do not happen again. We have also strongly condemned the incident," Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On Sunday, the foreign secretary said it would first be investigated whether the firing of unexploded mortar shells on the Bangladesh border was an accident or intentional. Border Guard Bangladesh (BGB) stepped up its vigilance along Bangladesh-Myanmar border in Bandarban area after two Myanmar mortar shells landed in an area near Tambru under Naikkhangchhari in Bandarban on Sunday afternoon.