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Dhaka seeks Commonwealth solidarity for sustainable post-Covid-19 recovery

  • Published at 04:54 pm October 15th, 2020
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen
File photo of Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

The foreign minister categorically mentioned that Bangladesh is no longer in a position to shoulder the humanitarian burden of the Rohingya for an indefinite period

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has sought Commonwealth’s solidarity, connectivity and collective action to build back a more resilient, greener and sustainable post-Covid-19 recovery.

Dr Momen recalled Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's 1973 Commonwealth speech and called for Commonwealth solidarity following the footsteps of Bangabandhu.

He was addressing the 20th Commonwealth Foreign Affairs Ministers meeting (CFAMM) held virtually in London on Wednesday. 

The Foreign Minister briefed the meeting about the virtual Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF) leaders event presided by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier in October.

He reaffirmed the prime minister's call for a green post-Covid-19 recovery and to tackle the climate emergency, a December 31, 2020 midnight climate survival deadline for submitting higher and ambitious NDC Paris targets. 

Dr Momen also proposed a number of collaborative mechanisms among the UK, the Commonwealth chair-in-office and the COP 26 Presidency and Bangladesh under the CVF presidency. 

The foreign minister sought further collaboration between the Commonwealth and the CVF.  

Also Read - Commonwealth of Learning, Better Future for Women join hands to offer Workforce Recovery Initiative in Bangladesh

On the question of Rohingya, Dr Momen made a strong case calling for the support of the Commonwealth, including the UK, Commonwealth chair-in-office, for intensifying their efforts and engagement with Myanmar, including their compliance with the “Provisional Measures” by the International Court of Justice (ICJ) and finding a lasting solution to this protracted crisis. 

The foreign minister categorically mentioned that Bangladesh is no longer in a position to shoulder this humanitarian burden of unprecedented magnitude or for an indefinite period, according to Bangladesh High Commission in London.

He recalled the prime minister's unequivocal reiteration at the 75th UNGA that the Rohingya problem was created in Myanmar and its solution has to be found in Myanmar, not in Bangladesh.

The foreign minister thanked The Gambia, a fellow Commonwealth country for pursuing the ICJ case against Myanmar and welcomed the decision of Canada, another fellow Commonwealth member, for joining Gambia’s side.

Speaking on Bangladesh's wholehearted support to the Commonwealth’s “No More Campaign” to tackle domestic and sexual violence, the foreign minister also briefed the meeting that under Sheikh Hasina’s bold and decisive leadership her government has enacted capital punishment or rigorous life imprisonment as the highest punishment for the crime of rape in Bangladesh most recently. 

He informed the meeting that as the lead country for the Commonwealth business-to-business connectivity cluster, Bangladesh would be hosting the first virtual high-level B2B connectivity dialogue at the Commonwealth on 23 November 2020 to enhance knowledge-sharing and connectivity amongst Commonwealth businesses, chambers and entrepreneurs. 

Commonwealth Secretary-General Baroness Patricia Scotland and foreign ministers of more than 45 Commonwealth countries were present at the meeting held with Dominic Raab, MP, the UK secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs as chair. 

Bangladesh high commissioner to the United Kingdom and the governor of the Commonwealth board of governors Saida Muna Tasneem also participated in the meeting.

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