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PM to Bangladeshi envoys: Pursue political, economic diplomacy together

  • Published at 10:46 am July 21st, 2019
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina speaks as the chief guest at the 'Envoys’ Conference,' in London on Saturday, July 20, 2019 Focus Bangla

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina left Dhaka for London on July 19

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked Bangladeshi envoys in Europe to pursue political and economic diplomacy together in the interest of Bangladesh’s economic development.

“We need to focus more on economic issues besides political diplomacy so that the ongoing development in Bangladesh continues,” she said on Saturday while speaking as the chief guest at the “Envoys’ Conference,” the first of its kind, in London.

A total of 15 Bangladesh ambassadors, high commissioners and permanent representatives posted in different European countries attended the conference, prime minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim said after the meeting.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also spoke on the occasion while State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Nojibur Rahman and Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque were present.

At the conference, Prime Minister Hasina held discussions with the Bangladeshi envoys on various issues and gave them necessary directives. 

The issues included enhancing Bangladesh’s image further in Europe, boosting trade and commerce and attracting more investment in the country.

Rohingya crisis and migration, as well as the celebrations of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the country’s independence, were also discussed in the conference.

Referring to the fast-changing world, Sheikh Hasina advised the diplomats to take effective and time-befitting action plan for establishing deeper and broader relations with foreign countries.

“To this effect, we need to explore opportunities for enhancing investment, trade and skilled manpower export in countries, particularly in the European states,” she said.

The prime minister added that Bangladesh now has a very big and skilled youth force who can meet the demand of global job markets.

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Referring to the government’s various initiatives for building a skilled work force, she said they have already introduced apps for helping people learn nine different languages.

She suggested the envoys to assess the markets of their respective countries of assignment and identify the barriers to bolster economic ties.

Sheikh Hasina said her government is working with specific target of making Bangladesh a developed nation by 2041 and asked the diplomats to draw their own specific targets in line with the goal.

She also advised the envoys to provide better and faster services to expatriate Bangladeshis.   

“We have already attained over 8% GDP growth and put a target of 8.12% GDP growth for the current 2019-20 financial year,” she said adding that the per capita income will reach at $2,000 in 2020.

She said Bangladesh is no more dependent on aid and is sourcing over 90% of Tk 523,190-crore national budget from its own resources.

However, the Prime Minster noted that some groups, including those who failed in the elections, are carrying out propaganda against Bangladesh to halt the country’s ongoing development.

In particular, she said BNP raised questions against the last general election after doing “election business” instead of meaningfully participating in it. 

Sheikh Hasina said people in Bangladesh no more believe in propaganda, instead they put their faith on the socio-economic development efforts and achievement of the Awami League government. 

Referring to the foreign policy, enunciated by Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Prime Minister said the foreign policy of “friendship with all, malice to none” put Bangladesh in a prestigious position at the global stage.

She said following the policy, Bangladesh solved many contentious issues, including transfer of enclaves with India, through diplomatic dialogues. 

“Similarly, we hope the Rohingya issue will also be solved through discussions,” she said.

Pointing to the geographical position of Bangladesh, she said the country could be the bridge between the East and the West.

The envoys who attended the conference are Abu Zafar (Austria), Mohammed Shahdat Hossain (Belgium), Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Denmark), Kazi Imtiaz Hossain (France), Imtiaz Ahmed (Germany), Jashim Uddin (Greece), Abdus Sobhan Sikder (Italy), Sheikh Mohammed Belal (Netherlands), Muhammad Mahfuzur Rahman (Poland), Ruhul Alam Siddique (Portugal), Dr SM Saiful Hoque (Russian Federation), Hassan Mahmood Khandker (Spain), Nazmul Islam (Sweden), Shameem Ahsan (Switzerland) and Saida Muna Tasneem (United Kingdom).

At the conference each of the envoys made separate presentation on the activities, challenges and future plan of actions for their respective countries of assignment. 

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina left Dhaka for London on July 19, on an official visit to the United Kingdom to attend the envoys’ conference and other program.

She is expected to return home on August 5.