Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen
Ruling out any external pressure, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud on Sunday said Bangladesh will stick to its foreign policy principle – “friendship to all, malice towards none” – against the backdrop of a divided world. “All the countries in the East and the West have expressed their willingness to work with us, with the government. At the end of the day, they are our development partners and we will work together,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Maritime Affairs Unit Secretary Rear Admiral (retd) Khurshed Alam were present at the time. Meeting reporters for the first time after taking oath as the foreign minister, Hasan said the world is gradually becoming divided and it is a challenge in this changing scenario. Apart from forging deeper friendships with all the countries, he said the government values their concerns, too. “There had been many pressures centering the election. The election was held overcoming all those pressures. We never allowed us to feel any pressure from anyone. We will work together with all,” he said. Read more: Hasina’s commitment to amplifying voices of climate vulnerable nations truly commendable: CVF Responding to a question, he said they will have no problem in working together with all as Bangladesh has willingness to get closer to all. “We want to be with all. That is our strength.” The foreign minister laid emphasis on sending skilled manpower abroad, addressing the problems of the expatriates and encouraging them to send remittance through formal channels. He said the government needs to strengthen its economic diplomacy to expand its export market and explore new markets. He reiterated that at the swearing-in ceremony of the newly elected government’s cabinet in Bangabhaban, all the ambassadors and high commissioners based in Dhaka, including those from the US, UK and the European Union (EU), were present. “They all came to congratulate the current government,” said the new foreign minister.Responding to a question, Hasan said each country has its own “perspective and narrative,” and the government of Bangladesh values those perspectives and narratives. “It’s a very important ministry. It is a challenge,” he said about his new role. FM Hasan said the elections were free and fair as described by international observers. Read more: PM likely to attend Munich Security Conference 2024 “We will work with all the countries – call it the West or East – for the development of our country. We believe in friendship to all and malice to none,” he said. He said the election was held in a free and fair manner with the wider participation of voters in a festive atmosphere. He said huge foreign observers including from the US, EU, OIC, Commonwealth, Japan and Saarc countries observed the polls and acknowledged the polls as “free and fair” with enthusiastic participation of voters. “There were many barriers but the observers came to accept the polls,” he said. The foreign minister, quoting a US observer, said there are always discussions and questions about the election, and even in the US. “Ministry of Information was a challenge. I met that challenge with your help. It's definitely a challenge in the global context and the fact that there are wars going on in different parts of the world now,” said the foreign minister while responding to a question. He said under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, they have taken the country forward by facing all the challenges. “Prime Minister has entrusted me with the responsibility of foreign ministry. Insha Allah, facing this challenge, we will move the country forward and brighten the country’s image, improve relations with the East and the West,” the foreign minister said. Read more: Rohingya issue can be resolved diplomatically: Foreign Minister
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas had a meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen at State Guesthouse Padma this morning (November 30, 2023) where they discussed ongoing developments in bilateral relations. “Ambassador Haas and FS Momen had a routine meeting to discuss ongoing developments in the bilateral relationship,” US Embassy in Dhaka said after the meeting. Also read: US Ambassador Peter Haas holding meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen The meeting began around 11 am and lasted for 30 minutes. Bangladesh Ambassador to the United States, Muhammad Imran, was also present at the meeting. Haas and Foreign Secretary Masud did not speak to the reporters waiting outside the venue. The US ambassador returned to Dhaka on Monday after a holiday. It is worth noting that the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, DC has said the political context of the US “Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally” has many reasons “to be alarmed.” “Politics is behind what is said about labor rights in the memorandum, and the US would try to use the political purpose in different ways,” said the embassy in a letter based on observation it made on the recently launched US initiative. Also read: US with us, we are with US: Bangladesh Foreign Minister The US Presidential Memorandum was rolled out on November 16. The United States said it will work to “hold accountable those who threaten, intimidate, attack union leaders, labor rights defenders, labor organizations – including using things like sanctions, trade penalties and visa restrictions” – all the tools in their kit. The “memorandum” is a signal for Bangladesh as the US may take any measure as described in it with the excuse of labor issues, the letter from Bangladesh embassy in Washington, seen by UNB, reads. “The memorandum may also have an impact on Bangladesh’s apparel sector, and it should be taken into cognizance with priority by the concerned stakeholders,” it said. Also read: Dhaka has “excellent” relations with US: Hasan Mahmud
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas is holding a meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen at State Guesthouse Padma. The meeting began around 11 am today (November 30, 2023). Issues being discussed at the meeting could not be known immediately. It is worth noting that the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, DC has said the political context of the US “Presidential Memorandum on Advancing Worker Empowerment, Rights, and High Labor Standards Globally” has many reasons “to be alarmed.” “Politics is behind what is said about labor rights in the memorandum, and the US would try to use the political purpose in different ways,” said the embassy in a letter based on observation it made on the recently launched US initiative. Read: US Ambassador Peter Haas returns to Dhaka The US Presidential Memorandum was rolled out on November 16. The United States said it will work to “hold accountable those who threaten, intimidate, attack union leaders, labor rights defenders, labor organizations – including using things like sanctions, trade penalties and visa restrictions” – all the tools in their kit. Read: Repeatedly raised concerns about threatening rhetoric directed at Peter Haas with Bangladesh govt: US Embassy The “memorandum” is a signal for Bangladesh as the US may take any measure as described in it with the excuse of labor issues, the letter from Bangladesh embassy in Washington, seen by UNB, reads. “The memorandum may also have an impact on Bangladesh’s apparel sector, and it should be taken into cognizance with priority by the concerned stakeholders,” it said. Read more: Try to figure out a way to have dialogue without pre-conditions: Peter Haas urges parties
Bangladesh has briefed heads of missions (around 90) based in New Delhi on the recent political scenario and preparations for the next general election in Bangladesh. Mentioning that election is a “festive occasion in Bangladesh as we see it in many democratic countries,” Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen told ambassadors that people of Bangladesh have been eagerly waiting to take part in the democratic process to vote and elect the representatives of their choice. The Election Commission is committed to holding a free and fair election with participation of voters in a festive atmosphere, Masud told the diplomats in Delhi. Bangladesh-India FS-level talks held in New Delhi The foreign secretary briefed the diplomats concurrently accredited to Bangladesh on Friday evening. He was visiting New Delhi in connection with the Foreign Office Consultations between Bangladesh and India, which was held in the Hyderabad House in the afternoon of November 24. In the evening, he briefed the concurrently accredited ambassadors to Bangladesh in a program organized by the Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi at the Bangabandhu Hall. Foreign Secretary Masud highlighted the foreign policy priorities and dynamics of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Bangladesh-India FS-level talks in New Delhi on Friday He also briefed the ambassadors about Bangladesh’s position on various geopolitical contemporary issues. During the briefing, he highlighted the socio-economic development of Bangladesh over the last 15 years under the dynamic and visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Masud solicited their support to resolve the Rohingya crisis through ensuring the refugees’ safe and sustainable repatriation to their place of origin in Myanmar for peace and stability of the region and beyond. During the briefing session, the ambassadors were requested for support of their respective governments for Bangladesh’s candidature for the membership of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council under category ‘C’ for the term 2024-2025, elections to which be held in London on December 1 this year. Given Bangladesh’s recent socio-economic development, continued stability and growing importance in the regional and global platforms and engagement with the issues of global concern, Foreign Secretary Masud urged the ambassadors to request their respective governments to consider opening diplomatic missions in Dhaka. He assured them of the Bangladesh government’s cooperation and assistance in facilitating the process. The foreign secretary responded to questions raised by the concurrently accredited ambassadors. The foreign secretary is scheduled to return to Dhaka this afternoon. FOC: Bangladesh, India hold comprehensive discussions on trade, security, border issues
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen today (November 23, 2023) said he is not carrying any special message from Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina or there is "no hidden agenda" as he leaves for New Delhi tomorrow to hold talks with his Indian counterpart, scheduled for Friday. He, however, said the Bangladesh side will definitely inform the Indian side if they have queries regarding the next national election. Talking to reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Masud said the relationship between Bangladesh and India is multifaceted. Read: AL’s main task is to prevent propaganda, sabotage ahead of polls: Obaidul Quader Efforts to keep the relationship unhindered and smooth before, during and after the election may come up for discussions, he said. The foreign secretary said he will brief diplomats from countries that do not have missions in Dhaka about the situation in Bangladesh and the government’s efforts to hold a free and fair election. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday said no political issues will be discussed in the foreign secretary-level talks between the two countries. Read: Way towards green, sustainable businesses in Asia and the Pacific pointed at UN forum in Hong Kong "I don't think so. Political discussion has already been done. There will be no discussion about politics there," Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs when a reporter wanted to know whether politics and the upcoming election will be discussed in the forthcoming meeting. The foreign minister said it is a routine meeting between the two countries where various issues of mutual interest will be discussed. "We do FOC (Foreign Office Consultations) with many countries. It is a routine matter," he added. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen is scheduled to hold the regular bilateral meeting with his Indian counterpart Vinay Mohan Kwatra on Friday. This is the second foreign secretary-level meeting between the two countries this year. The first one was held in February in Dhaka. At the Foreign Office Consultations, the two countries usually discuss all the major issues of mutual interests to promote cooperation encompassing all sectors. Read: ‘Those threatening to foil polls had shown bias towards undemocratic change in power in the past’ Recently, Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said the relationship between Bangladesh and India today stands out as a model in terms of shared benefits. In an interaction in London, he said the two countries have settled the land boundary and maritime border issues. Jaishankar highlighted connectivity cooperation, energy supply and use of ports and noted that Bangladesh-India ties stand as model ties.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen hosted a farewell luncheon in honour of outgoing Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard on Tuesday at State guesthouse Padma. Prior to the luncheon, the outgoing Swiss ambassador paid a farewell call on the foreign secretary. Both sides also exchanged views on the issues of Rohingya crisis, Ukraine war, etc. and hoped that the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Switzerland will continue to get stronger in the coming days. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen congratulated Nathalie Chuard on her successful tenure in Bangladesh and appreciated her efforts and contributions in strengthening Bangladesh-Switzerland bilateral relations. Read more: Masud Bin Momen bids farewell to Doraiswami Referring to the visit of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Switzerland in 1972 and his vision to make Bangladesh as the “Switzerland of the East”, foreign secretary thanked the Swiss government for playing an integral role as a very important development partner in the spectacular socio-economic development journey of Bangladesh. The outgoing ambassador of Switzerland expressed satisfaction at the Swiss development cooperation to Bangladesh over the last five decades and the growing bilateral trade and investment relations between the two countries.
Bangladesh wants to avert tension along the Bangladesh-Myanmar border through "dialogue and discussions", using the existing mechanism between the two border forces amid Myanmar's internal conflicts. Talking to a small group of journalists at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen said they will have discussions through existing mechanism between Border Guard Bangladesh and its Myanmar counterpart to resolve any issue quickly if there is any provocation. "Basically, it's an action against their insurgents inside Myanmar. Maybe unintentionally a number of incidents took place. They acknowledged the matter," he said on Sunday evening. Read: Warned Myanmar against firing shots towards Bangladesh, says Home Minister The Foreign Secretary said the BGB remains vigilant though firing happened almost 10 kilometers away from the Bangladesh border. "But sounds are being heard here, on the Bangladesh side. For this reason, locals might become restless. Our surveillance is there. We are observing the situation," said the Foreign Secretary. He said efforts are there so that no tension prevails along the border. "We remain highly alert. BGB will not allow anyone inside Bangladesh." Earlier, Bangladesh reiterated deep concerns over mortar shells landing inside Bangladesh territory, indiscriminate aerial firing from Myanmar in the bordering areas, and air space violations. On September 3, 2022 two mortar shells fell inside Bangladesh between BP 40 and 41. The Myanmar Ambassador in Bangladesh Aung Kyaw Moe was summoned to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to meet the Director General of Myanmar Wing. Read: Myanmar envoy summoned: Dhaka shares “deep concerns” with Naypyidaw over border violation During the meeting, the Ambassador was also told that such activities are of grave threat to the safety and security of the peace-loving people, violation of border agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar and contrary to the good neighborly relationship. The Ambassador was also urged to ensure that no trespassing of the internally displaced Myanmar Residents takes place from Rakhine. It was also stressed that a safe, secure and conducive environment in the place of their origin in Rakhine is essential for sustainable and voluntary repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas from Bangladesh. The Myanmar Ambassador was also asked to come to the Ministry on 21 August and 28 August 2022 and protest notes were handed over to him conveying Bangladesh’s grave concerns. The Bangladesh Embassy in Yangon also raised the issue with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Myanmar with much importance.
Bangladesh will lodge its strong protest with Myanmar so that nothing such happens inside Bangladesh as the country witnessed two mortal shells from Myanmar inside Bangladesh territory on Sunday afternoon. “We usually protest amid such incidents. Few days ago we also received similar reports. We will again strongly protest it with them (Myanmar),” said Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also read: Myanmar conditions do not allow for safe, voluntary return of Rohingya: US He said it will first be investigated whether the fall 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 mortal shells landed in an area near Tambru under Naikkhangchhari in Bandarban on Sunday afternoon. Locals got panicked seeing the mortar shells which remained unexploded. Also read: Myanmar’s military regime encourages yaba smuggling to Bangladesh
Bangladesh and Switzerland are in touch to develop a mechanism for exchange of information to avoid any “misunderstanding” and “confusion” between the two sides. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Tuesday said they are in touch with the Swiss Embassy in Dhaka and Switzerland's administrative capital Bern as there is a proposal to that end from the Swiss side. The decision to develop such a mechanism came amid confusions over deposits of Bangladeshi money in the Swiss banks and whether Bangladesh has sought information from the Swiss authorities or not. The Foreign Secretary said the government wants to make sure that there is no Illicit transfer of funds. Responding to a question, he said the mechanism is primarily for the exchange of information. Masud said they will sit with the relevant stakeholders to end any misunderstanding because neither side might have full information on the deposits of illegal money in Swiss banks. Earlier, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh sought information on the deposits of Bangladeshi money in the Swiss banks but the Swiss side did not respond to the query. Momen said this after his conversation on the issue with Bangladesh Bank governor Abdur Rouf Talukder and Finance Secretary Fatima Yasmin recently. Read: Switzerland a serious global player, reliable partner of Bangladesh: Ambassador Chuard The foreign minister said he advised the governor and the finance ministry to come up with the statements as confusion arose following some media reports quoting Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard. Momen said it is not true that Bangladesh did not seek information from Switzerland. The Swiss envoy at the DCAB Talk last week said any estimate on deposits of Bangladeshi money in the Swiss banks is "purely speculative" and no conclusion can be drawn on the basis of reports. "Switzerland is not a safe haven for corrupt money," she said adding "When it comes to the Bangladeshi money deposited in the Swiss banks - the deposits meant by individuals ...represent only one aspect of various sources of public and private funds." Bangladeshi media outlets reported that funds parked by Bangladeshi nationals and entities in all the Swiss banks swelled by 54 per cent to around CHF (Swiss Franc) 871 million (Tk 83.18 billion) in the last calendar year. The amount was around CHF 563 million in 2020. Responding to a question on information exchange on the issue, she said Switzerland is really committed to implementing international standards. In accordance with these international standards they can have some specific regulations and agreements also with the country to exchange this type of information, she said. "So that is something should be developed," said the ambassador, adding that they have been providing to the government all the information regarding how to reach an agreement on these matters but no request has been submitted regarding any particular funding.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has said taking a new loan from China will not be a part of their agenda during Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi's upcoming Bangladesh visit. "This time, the issue of taking loan afresh isn't there at least," he said on Wednesday when a reporter wanted to know whether Bangladesh is going to take a loan from China again. Asked what message this visit carries amid the crisis in various parts of the world, the foreign secretary said it will be known once the Chinese foreign minister comes. "We are working on the visit. Things are yet to be finalised." He reiterated that the visit is part of the Chinese side's routine visit to the region and also it is an opportunity to review the existing engagements between the two countries. "It can't be said (there's) urgency (from the Chinese side). Since he will be visiting this region, he expressed the desire to come here if we can give him time. We are looking into the timings," he said earlier when a reporter wanted to know why there was so much urgency from the Chinese side. Read: 12th bi-annual CSO meeting: Foreign secretary highlights implementation of IORDA-DDI State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Tuesday said time, arrival and departure have not been confirmed yet. The state minister said he does not want to shed any doubt but there is nothing to say in detail about the visit yet. "You will get to know," said, adding that things will be cleared within the next 48 hours. Shahriar also suggested not bringing any third country into a bilateral context and discussion. Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen is expected to return home on August 6 evening after attending the ASEAN Regional Forum meeting during August 5-6 in Cambodia. In January 2017, Wang Yi had an hour-long stopover in Dhaka. "This time, he will be coming for a longer period," said the foreign secretary. The Chinese foreign minister is likely to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday morning apart from a bilateral meeting with his Bangladesh counterpart Momen to discuss bilateral, regional and global issues. Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Li Jiming met Momen recently at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and discussed various issues of mutual interest, including the proposed visit of the Chinese foreign minister.