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Going beyond regional cooperation

  • Published at 11:00 pm January 13th, 2020
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Our foreign diplomats are supposed to represent the very best of Bangladesh

With Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s recent visit to the UAE, it gives Bangladesh an excellent opportunity to ramp up our nation’s efforts at effective diplomacy.

According to Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen a conference will be held for Bangladeshi ambassadors to Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and United Arab Emirates to that very end.

It’s a fact that, in the past, our country has not exactly performed well in terms of foreign relations, with the Rohingya crisis perhaps being one of the more egregious examples of our lack of effective diplomacy skills.

The Gulf countries represent a great testbed for our diplomats to try and hone their skills, nations with which we already have established formal relations. Bangladesh has made a good amount of headway in improving regional cooperation with our neighbouring countries, but it’s high time that our diplomats looked beyond.

Using the PM’s visit as a springboard, the opportunity for our diplomats to discuss issues of investment, trade, migration, and, most importantly, the welfare of our overseas workers -- which has long been a sticking point with countries such as Saudi Arabia -- is better than ever.

But such opportunities will mean nothing if we squander them, as the state of our international diplomacy hasn’t exactly been sterling in the past. But with the PM’s directives to our envoys, we hope that will change soon.

Our foreign diplomats are supposed to represent the very best of Bangladesh, and we should not expect anything less than excellence from them.