Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen
Bangladesh-origin Hindus in UK laud PM Hasina's exemplary steps to establish secular, democratic Bangladesh
Leaders of the Bangladesh Hindu Association, representing Bangladesh-origin Hindus in the UK, have praised Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership for the remarkable economic development as well as her exemplary steps to establish a secular and oppression-free democratic Bangladesh. They called on Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen in London on Saturday (September 30, 2023), said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday (October 01, 2023). The Association raised their concerns over the welfare of their fellow members and relatives in Bangladesh during the Durga Puja and upcoming election. The Foreign Minister assured them that strict precautionary measures and necessary steps would be taken during the Durga Puja and upcoming election to protect the Hindus. Dr Momen emphasized the Bangladesh government’s commitment to ensure religious peace, harmony, and security. Read: ‘Battle is between secular and non-secular forces, which one does UK choose?’: Bangladesh High Commissioner The Bangladesh Hindu Association thanked and appreciated the Foreign Minister for his support and commitments to safeguard the values of the Hindus and other religious communities. Foreign Minister Dr Momen also praised their role in connecting Bangladeshi-origin Hindus with the UK and urged them to represent Bangladesh’s religious harmonies as well as the nation's achievements. The Hindu association handed over a petition to the Foreign Minister to ensure the protection and safety of their relatives. Mr. Proshanta Datta Purokayastha, BEM, Chairman of the association, led the group. Read: British MPs, diplomats express solidarity with Bangabandhu’s secular, progressive values Rabin Paul, Vice Chairman, Haradhan Bhowmik, Vice Chairman, Prasanta Kumar Dutta, Vice Chairman, Sujith Chowdhury, General Secretary, Biswajit Dey, Treasurer, Kankan Kanti Ghosh, Joint Treasurer, Bappy Dam, Women Organizing Secretary, Arjun Kumar Datta, Deputy Organizing Secretary, Sushanta Kumar Halder, Entertainment Secretary, and Dr Debabrata Chowdhury, Member, attended the meeting. Read more: Bangabandhu's killing designed to destroy secular spirit of Liberation War: Speakers
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has described Bangladesh's relationship with the United States as "outstandingly warm and cordial," but noted that some quarters are trying to inject bitterness into this relationship through lies. The foreign minister said that the United States believes in democracy and human rights. "So, there is similarity in our views and thoughts with the United States. In principle, the two countries have similarities. However, some individuals may not appreciate our development," Momen said, calling upon the Bangladeshi expatriates in the United States to be vigilant. Govt can't guarantee violence-free election without support from all: FM Momen He urged the Bangladeshi diaspora to take a stand, regardless of their political affiliation, to challenge those who lie about Bangladesh. The foreign minister was speaking at a views-exchange meeting organized by the Bangabandhu Foundation in New York's Bangladeshi-dominated Jackson Heights on September 26. The foreign minister said, "We have remarkably friendly relations with the United States. America believes in the same principles and values we believe in. Bangladesh is the country where we have fought for democracy. Although we won the popular vote, we were not allowed to form the government in 1971. Rather, genocide was unleashed on us, and then Bangabandhu declared independence." FM Momen for strengthening trade, investment ties with African nations Momen said Bangladesh declared independence to establish democracy, justice, and human rights. "Because of this, we had to sacrifice three million lives during the Liberation War. Nowhere in the world have so many people sacrificed themselves for democracy and human rights in such a short period of time. We are the only nation in the world that has made such great sacrifices for democracy and human rights," he added. Referring to the replacement of the Digital Security Act, he said, the government accepted the suggestions provided by the United States as a friendly country. Read Cyber Security Bill before making comments: FM "The United States expects free and fair elections, and we are also committed to free and fair elections. But there are some people in our country who want to boycott the elections, they fear elections," the foreign minister said, referring to the opposition, that they are trying to thwart the election. The foreign minister said Bangladesh is now the 35th largest economy in the world. "If Bangladesh's current economic development continues, we will become the 26th largest economy in a few years. We have 17 crore people, so our own market is huge. That's why many people are interested in our country, because our per capita income has increased 5 times," he said. Momen said the poverty rate has been reduced by more than half. "All these have become possible due to the implementation of goal-oriented measures of the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina." Momen also said, "We are now self-sufficient in food. We are third in the world in fish and vegetable production. We are fourth in the world in rice production. Our agricultural land has shrunk, but food production has quadrupled. This has been possible due to the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina." Momen said as Bangladesh is making progress, many people do not like the development activities of the country. "We are an independent, sovereign country. Our Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman has given us a beautiful foreign policy. And this principle is 'friendship to all, malice to none.' We believe in this principle. We follow a balanced foreign policy," said the foreign minister. Bangabandhu Foundation United States unit General Secretary Abdul Quader Mia was present at the event as a special guest. Other leaders including Moshiur Malek, Fakir Ilyas, Abdul Khalek Mia, New York Correspondent of Bangladesh Protidin Lovelu Ansar were present.
6 years of Rohingya Influx: Bangladesh wants repatriation; some countries pushing for integration here
Six years after the Rohingya influx in Bangladesh, the government continues its efforts focusing on their safe repatriation, though some countries and international organisations are pushing for their integration in Bangladesh. “Our priority is that they (Rohingyas) will return to their homeland. Myanmar is also willing to take them back,” said Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, noting that Myanmar needs to ensure safety and security of the Rohingyas after their return to their place of origin. On August 25, 2017, Myanmar’s military began carrying out violent operations against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine state, which resulted in grave crimes under international law. Entire villages were burnt, and hundreds of thousands of Rohingyas were forced to flee into Bangladesh. The Foreign Minister said the government remains in a firm position regarding their repatriation to Myanmar. “So, discussion is underway. We are always hopeful,” he said, adding that some countries and international organisations recommended the Bangladesh government to give Rohingyas training and skills, and keep them here. Read: Singapore's support sought for Rohingya repatriation, Dhaka's inclusion as ASEAN Dialogue Partner Momen said Bangladesh already has a huge population and it does not need a large number of people from other countries. The minister said Rohingyas came to Bangladesh in the 1970s, '80s and '90s but every time they returned, even during military rule in the past. UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, has called for renewed commitment from the international community for financial support to sustain the humanitarian response and political support to find solutions for over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Bangladesh. This week marks six years since over 700,000 Rohingya men, women and children from Myanmar fled to Bangladesh. They joined hundreds of thousands of other Rohingyas who had previously sought refuge in the country. Read: Said no to US congressmen’s suggestion that Bangladesh absorb Rohingyas: Momen As the humanitarian condition in the world’s largest refugee settlement worsens, the challenges surrounding this protracted crisis continue to increase. Steep decline in funds is forcing humanitarian actors to focus on the most critical and life-saving needs, UNHCR said. It has for the first time led to the reduction of refugees’ food assistance, raising concerns about cascading dramatic consequences: rising malnutrition, school dropout, child marriage, child labour and gender-based violence. With their strength and resilience, the Rohingya refugees have, over the past six years, formed the backbone of the humanitarian response and supported the communities hosting them in turn. UNHCR urged support to enable Rohingya refugees to benefit from education and skills development, through vocational training and other forms of capacity-building. This will not only equip the refugees for their eventual return but also ensure their dignity, safety and productivity during their time in Bangladesh. Read: Dedicated to finding global partners to fund humanitarian efforts in Rohingya camps: OIC This can empower them to address some of their own needs, as the refugees do not wish to be totally reliant on diminishing humanitarian aid, said the UN refugee agency on Tuesday. A dignified and sustainable return to Myanmar remains the primary solution to this crisis, said the UNHCR, adding that “Rohingya refugees continue to tell us they want to return to Myanmar when it is safe for them to do so voluntarily.” The UN agency said the international community must renew its efforts to make that possible. “As the United Nations remains ready to support efforts to create the conditions that would be conducive to sustainable return, it is crucial that UNHCR and its partners are provided unimpeded, meaningful and predictable access in Rakhine State in Myanmar, including to assist and monitor the return of refugees.” The collective goal should be to ensure Rohingyas’ voluntary return to Myanmar — to their places of origin or choice, being able to move freely and access documentation, citizenship pathways, services and income-generation opportunities to rebuild their lives, UNHCR said. Read more: Bangladesh seeks stronger support from int'l community for Rohingya repatriation Until they can return, they remain in refugee camps located in an area off the coast of the Bay of Bengal, which is extremely vulnerable to cyclones, flooding, landslides, fire outbreaks, and the impacts of climate change.
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen has offered assistance for dredging relevant rivers in Bangladesh — to improve their capacity for better management of flood situations. Ambassador Yao met Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday (July 05, 2023) and discussed issues of mutual interest. While exchanging views on climate change, the issue of the prevailing monsoon and its impact on possible flood situation in the country, particularly the occurrence of flash-floods, came up, according to a press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also read: China welcomes Bangladesh to BRICS as the grouping seeks expansion: Spokesperson Foreign Minister Momen reviewed the efforts for facilitating the desired repatriation of the Rohingyas, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh on humanitarian grounds, to their homeland in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. They also reviewed the ongoing bilateral cooperation in various multilateral and international forums. During the meeting, Foreign Minister Momen reiterated Bangladesh’s commitments for further enhancing the ‘South-South Cooperation’ for greater collective benefit of the global South. He referred to innovative approaches including that of the Community Clinics introduced in Bangladesh by the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, which is now internationally appreciated. Also read: China says PM Hasina's remarks against sanctions reflect a ‘large part of int'l community's mind’ Momen observed that a developing country like Bangladesh could apply a lot of practical, simple and viable Chinese innovations for the benefit of the people. The Chinese envoy spoke about the different development projects in Bangladesh that are being carried out with support from China. Foreign Minister Momen thanked China as a development partner. He encouraged greater Chinese investment in Bangladesh to facilitate more job creation and transfer of technology and skills. Also read: Chinese enterprises in Bangladesh will further promote sustainable development, deepening ties: Ambassador Yao Momen also stressed on initiatives for reducing the huge trade imbalance between the two countries. As the ambassador extended invitations to the foreign minister to various events in China, the latter thanked him and took note of it.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to leave Dhaka for Doha on March 4 to participate in the 5th United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC5), to be held on March 5-9. Prime Minister’s participation at the conference is very important to share Bangladesh’s amazing graduation experience with all the stakeholders including the UN and ensure a smooth and sustainable graduation, said Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Seheli Sabrin in a weekly briefing on Thursday, sharing the PM’s schedule during her stay in Doha, Qatar. Bangladesh will call for global support for smooth transition in Bangladesh's LDC graduation. This will be the last LDC summit where Bangladesh will be attending as the country will be graduating from least developed country (LDC) status by 2026. The premier will be visiting Qatar at the invitation of the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi and Education Minister Dipu Moni, among others, will be accompanying her during the visit. The prime minister will lead a high-level delegation and will hold bilateral meeting with her Qatari counterpart apart from her participation at the LDC5 conference. She will also have meeting with the Emir of Qatar. Bilateral issues including cooperation in the areas of energy sector will come up for discussion. On March 5, the PM will deliver a speech at the opening plenary meeting as a special guest. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, UN General Assembly President and current chair of LDC Group will also speak at the plenary meeting. The Prime Minister will also deliver a speech at an event on the sidelines, titled “Sustainable and Smooth Transition for the Graduating Cohort of 2021”. Read more: Govt to focus on labour-intensive industries along with technology: PM Hasina On March 6, she will speak as the chief guest at a business summit, titled “The Rise of Bengal Tiger: Potential of Trade and Investment in Bangladesh.” On March 7, the Prime Minister will attend a high-level dialogue on “Enhancing the participation of LDCs in International Trade and Regional Integration”. She will also attend an event, titled “Global Partnership for Smooth and Sustainable Graduation: Marching towards Smart Bangladesh” as the special guest. The LDC5 is a once-in-a-decade opportunity to accelerate sustainable development in the places where international assistance is needed the most — and to tap the full potential of the Least Developed Countries, helping them make progress on the road to prosperity. Over five days of the LDC5 Conference in Doha, world leaders will gather with the private sector, civil society, parliamentarians, and young people to advance new ideas, raise new pledges of support, and spur delivery on agreed commitments, through the Doha Programme of Action. At the conference, it is expected that specific initiatives and concrete deliverables will be announced that will address LDC-specific challenges. The conference will feature plenary sessions, parallel high-level thematic roundtables, and a series of parallel and side events on various thematic priorities of the DPoA. A Summit level meeting of the LDC Group, chaired by the President of Malawi, will be held on the day before the conference. A commemoration event on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Group of LDCs will be held after the opening session on March 5, 2023. There will also be dedicated events for the private sector, CSOs, youths, parliamentarians and South-South tracks on the margins of the conference. The world’s Least Developed Countries are in a race against time to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. The remaining years need to usher in a new global partnership to ensure these 46 countries benefit from social, economic and environmental development, according to the UN. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to leave Doha for Dhaka on March 8.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday told Parliament that the government has taken steps to prevent some foreign diplomats from remarking against the government regarding the internal affairs of Bangladesh before the media. "Some foreign ambassadors working in Bangladesh make statements against the government regarding the internal affairs of Bangladesh. Various measures have been taken to prevent them from giving such statements that go beyond etiquette," he said. Read more: Govt will guarantee full protection of all diplomats, says FM The minister said this while replying to a question from treasury bench lawmaker Abul Kalam Azad in the House. Momen said the diplomats who have commented on Bangladesh's internal affairs before journalists have been asked to explain their remarks. He said the diplomats concerned have been asked to clarify their stands and perform their responsibility following the diplomatic norms. The minister said the foreign envoys have been asked not to comment on the country's internal matters before the media rather to inform their words to the appropriate offices. "Some foreign diplomats have recently commented on the internal affairs of Bangladesh, which is tantamount to the interference into the internal affairs of an independent and sovereign country," he said. Read more: Media pursues diplomats to speak on Bangladesh’s internal affairs: Momen In reply to another question from Awami League MP Momota Hena Lovely, the Foreign Minister hoped that the foreign diplomats would refrain from joining the matters or events that is tantamount to the inference into the internal affairs of the country or something that creates controversy. But some of our institutions, especially the opposition parties and some media, encourage them to speak about their internal affairs time and again, which is not seen in other countries, he said. Referring to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, the minister said the government will not prevent any foreign diplomats from attending any event that will help strengthen the bilateral relations. "Hopefully, the diplomats will maintain diplomatic etiquette in these events and refrain from making any comments that would be amount to interference in the internal affairs of Bangladesh," he said.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday told Parliament that diplomatic efforts are on track to deal with the United States regarding sanction on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), but he acknowledged that the matter is a political issue, which may follow a protracted process. "Lifting the sanction from RAB is a long-term process. Since the matter of imposing the sanction on RAB is a political issue, strong diplomatic efforts are being made to solve the matter since the beginning (immediately after imposition of the sanction)," he said. Read more: No discussion on RAB reforms with US: Home Minister The Foreign Minister made the statement while replying to a starred question from opposition Jatiya Party lawmaker Md Mujibul Haque (Chunnu). In a scripted answer, Dr Momen said the Foreign Ministry and other ministries, divisions or government agencies are jointly working to lift this sanction and ensure that such sanction would not come anymore in the future. The Bangladesh Embassy stationed in Washington DC maintains contact with the US State Department regularly, he said, adding that the Foreign Ministry takes steps instantly following the recommendation of the Bangladesh Embassy. Read more: Rab made ‘tremendous progress’ in ‘respecting rights’ while performing duties: Donald Lu observes Citing different steps taken by the government for withdrawal of the existing sanctions, he said that the sanction issue was also discussed in meetings with US Assistant Secretary Donald Lu during his recent visit to Bangladesh. Dr Momen said Donald Lu now praised the activities of RAB. "The Foreign Ministry and Bangladesh Embassy stationed in Washington DC together with a legal assistance firm continue strong diplomatic efforts over the withdrawal of the sanction," he said.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Tuesday said the United States wants to maintain good relations with Bangladesh and noted that Bangladesh is "becoming a big economy". Momen said US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu came to Bangladesh to "help improve the relationship" between the two countries. “We had a very good discussion. We had a very positive and constructive discussion. They are very happy with us. We are also very happy,” he told reporters, adding that President Biden wants to improve relations with Bangladesh in the next 50 years. Momen said they are also happy with Ambassador Peter Haas because he is an expert on economic issues. “We are on a higher economic trajectory. Our main focus is on economic development. He (Peter) can help us.” Responding to a question on RAB, he said the elite force is now more mature and things have changed with accountability in place. Read more: 'Frequent visits' by US officials a good development: Foreign Minister Momen said Bangladesh is a leader in the world in terms of stopping extremists and terrorists. “We are very successful. There are no terrorism activities.” He said Bangladesh and the US follow the same values and Bangladesh welcomes any constructive suggestion. US Embassy spokesperson Jeff Ridenour on Tuesday said Assistant Secretary Lu praised the Bangladesh government for the “dramatic reduction” last year in the number of allegations of extrajudicial killings and enforced disappearances by the RAB. During his meetings in Dhaka, Assistant Secretary Lu, however, did not indicate a time frame for the removal of RAB sanctions, he said. Momen said both sides acknowledged the weaknesses during the discussions. Read more: US envoy meets Momen, shares displeasure over embarrassment “We, Americans, have our own problems with democracy, but I am proud that our two countries can talk about these issues openly. We will also welcome support for improving our democracy,” Lu said.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has thanked the government of Japan for providing technical and financial support for the implementation of various projects including the metro rail. Welcoming newly appointed Ambassador of Japan to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori new Ambassador, Foreign Minister Momen said that Japan is Bangladesh's single largest bilateral development partner and an important country for trade and investment. Ambassador Kiminori had a courtesy meeting with Foreign Minister Momen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Tuesday morning. Read more: Bangladesh maintaining good relations with both US, China but it’s challenging: Momen
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said Bangladesh is a democratic country and urged those, who have confusion about the next national election, to read Bangladesh's history. "Awami League has always formed government through election. We will surely welcome international observers. We have nothing to hide," he told reporters after the inauguration of the e-gates at Sylhet Airport, apparently referring to the US. Read more: Momen slams Bangladeshi expat's killing in US, denounces hate crime They have a lack of knowledge and they need to know our history, Momen said. "In our country, election is very participatory. There is enthusiasm and joy. This country was created based on democracy, human rights and to establish justice," said the foreign minister. Momen said Bangladeshis fought to uphold human dignity and the principles are deeply rooted in every citizen. Read more: The recommendations some foreigners at times give seem to be “idiotic”: Momen "Others don't need to give us prescriptions. We have made a commitment. Our Prime Minister made the commitment that our next election will be free, fair, transparent, acceptable and inclusive," said the minister. He said the government wants the election, taking all on board who are willing to participate in the election.