Five Bangladeshi nationals who had been placed under arrest by Yemen's Houthi rebels, finally managed to return home on Sunday.
The repatriated Bangladeshis are Mohammed Yousuf, Mohammad Alauddin, Mohammed Alamgir, Mohammed Rahim Uddin, Mohammed Abu Tayub.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs had earlier announced they would be coming.
The 5 Bangladeshis were all crew members of a ship that set sail for Saudi Arabia from Oman last February, when their vessel was caught in a storm and sank near Yemen's Al Salaif Port in Hodeida.
All the crew members, including 5 Bangladeshis, were rescued by the Coast Guard of the Houthi rebels, who have been involved in an armed uprising against Yemen's internationally recognised government. The rescued crew were then taken into custody by the Houthis.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka coordinated with Bangladesh Embassy in Muscat, Kuwait and Amman and the IOM (International Organization for Migration) to arrange repatriation of the Bangladeshi nationals.
With the help of IOM, they were taken to Aden, which is still held by the government, from Saana, which has fallen to the Houthis.
Among the rescued persons, there were Indian and Egyptian nationals.
Two other Bangladeshi nationals (Jamal Uddin and Rafiqul) were also repatriated who were detained in Aden.
Earlier, Bangladesh Embassy in Kuwait issued Travel Permits in favor of the seven Bangladeshi Nationals.
Two others arrived in Dhaka on December 30, 2020.
The IOM coordinated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka to repatriate the seven Bangladeshi Nationals from Aden.
Jordanian Senate President and former Prime Minister Faisal Akif Al-Fayez has highly appreciated Bangladesh’s over 5 percent GDP growth even during pandemic under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
He was addressing a special webinar as the chief guest on Sunday.
Bangladesh Embassy in Amman, Jordan organised the event to mark the historic 10th January, Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s Homecoming Day, and the inauguration of the newly installed ‘Bangabandhu Corner’ in the mission compound.
The senior politician from Jordan shared how remarkable the growth story of Bangladesh is, especially given that so many countries are experiencing negative growth as a result of the economic slowdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Lt. Col. Retd. Faruk Khan MP, Chair of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was present as the guest of honour.
He highlighted the leadership qualities of Bangabandhu and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Khan also thanked the Bangladeshi expatriate workers who contributed greatly to the country’s economy despite Covid-19 and assured them of all support on behalf of the Sheikh Hasina government.
Moderated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s Special Assistant Barrister Shah Ali Farhad, the event was also addressed by Chief Coordinator of the National Implementation Committee for the Birth Centenary Celebrations of the Father of the Nation, Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, former member of the Jordanian Senate Dr Sawsan Majali, renowned writer, researcher and journalist Syed Badrul Ahsan and Ambassador of Bangladesh to Jordan Nahida Sobhan.
A video on the context and national mood of 10th January 1972 titled ‘Hopes and Aspirations: The Day the Father of the Nation Returned Home’, produced by Barrister Farhad, was also screened during the event.
Dr Majali highlighted the role of the current government in Bangladesh and NGOs like BRAC in transforming the lives of millions, especially rural women.
She also applauded the rapid digitisation of Bangladesh under PM Sheikh Hasina and how millions of mobile banking customers is ensuring financial inclusion at the grassroots level.
She recalled her own visit to Bangladesh to illustrate the rapid socio-economic development taking place in Bangladesh.
Dr Kamal highlighted the significance of Mujib Year, especially for the youth.
He pointed out the timelessness of Bangabandhu’s politics and philosophy and how they are very much relevant in today’s domestic and international politics.
Dr Kamal shared his own experience of witnessing the 7th March speech of Bangabandhu in 1971 and what impact it had on his young mind.
He also narrated the initiatives undertaken by the government for celebrating Mujib Year and the golden anniversary of Bangladesh’s independence.
Also read:Bangladesh, Jordan discuss convening FOC
He lauded the Embassy in Jordan for setting up the Bangabandhu Corner, and hoped that the installation would enable Bangladeshi and foreign visitors to know about the remarkable life of the architect of Bangladesh’s independence.
Syed Badrul narrated the electrifying atmosphere in Dhaka and throughout the country at the anticipation of welcoming Bangabandhu to his motherland after almost nine and a half months of incarceration in the dark cells of Pakistani prisons.
He put Bangabandhu’s politics in historical context, and the spectacular nature of the successful independence movement of Bangalees headed by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib, including the role of the six-point demands and the Agartala Conspiracy Case.
He also flagged the relatively young age by which Bangabandhu achieved his aim of an independent country and the heavy personal price he had to pay for it, including but not limited to, spending at least ten years in prison, for his politics alone.
Ambassador Sobhan termed Bangabandhu the ‘apostle of freedom’, as she listed the reasons for his stature as the undisputed architect of our independence.
She expressed hope that the ‘Bangabandhu Corner’ in the Bangladesh Embassy in Amanat will allow visitors to learn about the sacrifices Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib made in realizing the dream of an independent and prosperous Bangladesh.
The discussion was arranged by the Bangladesh Embassy in Amman, Jordan as part of the ‘Mujib Barsha Webinar Series’.
Earlier, on 29 December 2020, the Embassy arranged a webinar on ‘Liberation of Bangladesh and the Dream of Sonar Bangla’, which was attended by, among others, the Bangladeshi and Palestinian Foreign Ministers.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam on Sunday said the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) has huge prospects for economic cooperation as much its potentials are still unexplored and unexploited.
He emphasised making all entities of Bimstec Process fully functional and operational.
Also read:PM briefing media on Bimstec summit
The State Minister made the remarks after receiving newly appointed Secretary General of Bimstec Tenzin Lekphell at his Ministry's office.
Shahriar expressed his satisfaction on his appointment as the third Secretary General of Bimstec nominated by Bhutan, the first country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country.
The State Minister hoped that the Secretary General will be able to play a pivotal role as a bridge among Member States to achieving the goals through early conclusion and implementation of necessary agreements, MoUs and other required legal documents in these sectors to ensure overall development and wellbeing of the peoples of Bimstec region.
Shahriar said Bimstec process needs concerted and quicker efforts and more intense engagements amongst the member states for bringing out the best possible results for the mutual benefits of the peoples of the region.
He stated that it is imperative to forge more realistic partnership and shared endeavours to prosper together through exploitation of the full potentials of this region.
Shahriar Alam stated that Bangladesh, as the Bimstec lead country for Trade, Investment and Development, is strongly committed to strengthen Bimstec Cooperation in this important field.
He added that as a founding member of Bimstec, Bangladesh government is pledge bound to deepening relations with Bimstec member states in all aspects and to strengthen the Bimstec Secretariat in all possible means as well.
Bangladesh has already taken necessary steps to build a new premise for the Secretariat, he further added.
The new Secretary General of Bimstec expressed his deep pleasure to commence his work in Bangladesh as the Secretary General of Bimstec.
He mentioned that he is enjoying the warm hospitality here and passing time with good colleagues.
He thanked the State Minister for giving the opportunity to meet him. He expressed his strong conviction to work for strengthening Bimstec by enhancing the level of cooperation amongst the member states.
The State Minister wished the new Bimstec Secretary General all the success and assured him of all sorts of support from the Government of Bangladesh during his tenure in Bangladesh.
The UK has mobilised $1 billion from global donors to support vulnerable countries access Covid-19 vaccines to stop the virus’ spread amid competition among countries to get the vaccine first.
Bangladesh is expecting vaccines from India by the end of this month or the beginning of February.
Meanwhile, Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has requested Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to expedite a shipment of AstraZeneca's Covid-19 vaccine to Brazil, demonstrating a growing demand for vaccines everywhere.
The UK has helped to raise $1 billion for the coronavirus COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC) through match-funding other donors, which combined with the £548 million of UK aid pledged to help distribute one billion doses of coronavirus vaccines to 92 developing countries this year.
This vital investment will help stop the spread of the disease and prevent future waves, helping to build back better from coronavirus globally, said the UK Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office on Sunday.
The announcement coincides with a three-day virtual visit to London by the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres as part of the UK’s commemoration of the UN’s 75th anniversary.
Over the last 75 years, the UK has played a leading role in supporting the UN and we are working together to strengthen international collaboration to tackle today’s biggest global challenges, from coronavirus to climate change, the Foreign Office said.
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said it is fitting that on the 75th anniversary of the UN, the UK has led with its allies to make one billion doses of coronavirus vaccine available to vulnerable countries.
"We’ll only be safe from this virus, when we’re all safe – which is why we’re focused on a global solution to a global problem," Raab said.
Also Read- Global COVID-19 cases near 90 million
‘Overcoming global challenges together’
Guterres said that in the midst of a second world war that was far from won, Winston Churchill and Franklin Roosevelt - later joined by leaders of China, France, the-then Soviet Union and other allied powers – courageously set out a vision to free the world of fear and want, through cooperation.
This vision became the United Nations and, on this very day 75 years ago, the first meeting of the UN General Assembly was held in London.
Guterres said, "At this time of new global turmoil, I’m honoured to virtually visit the United Kingdom to mark that occasion, renew our cause of overcoming global challenges together, and celebrate a country that was instrumental in creating the United Nations and which remains, today, a crucial member state, not least in the run-up to COP26 in Glasgow."
On Monday, the UN Secretary-General will virtually meet with UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office Ministers Lord Ahmad, James Cleverly, Lord Goldsmith and Wendy Morton, and the COP26 President Designate, Alok Sharma.
The Secretary-General will also hold discussions with the Archbishop of Canterbury.
On the same day, the Secretary-General will attend a COP26 roundtable about clean power, alongside the UK Foreign Secretary, COP26 President Designate, and Ministers from across the world. Since 2011, UK aid has provided over 26 million people with improved access to clean energy and is looking ahead with even higher ambition, having committed to invest £11.6 billion of International Climate Finance from April 2021.
Covid-19 vaccine: ‘No reason for Bangladesh to be worried’
India has said there is no reason for Bangladesh to be concerned over timely receiving vaccine because India has always considered its neighbours on a priority.
"We’ve seen the statement made by the head of the Serum Institute of India. There’s no reason for neighbouring Bangladesh to be concerned because India has always considered its neighbours on a priority basis. This time too, there’ll be no exceptions," a diplomatic source in New Delhi told UNB recently.
Reiterating the highest priority India attaches to Bangladesh under India’s Neighbourhood First Policy, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during a Summit meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on December 17 last year, assured that vaccines would be made available to Bangladesh as and when produced in India.
Both leaders also noted the ongoing bilateral collaboration between the private sector in this area.
India currently has the second-highest number of total confirmed coronavirus cases (10,431,639) after the US the third-highest death at 150,798.
Bangladesh recorded 25 more Covid-19 deaths between Saturday and Sunday morning, taking the national fatality tally to 7,781 – with the mortality rate at 1.49 percent.
Meanwhile, the country also identified 1,071 new cases, taking the local caseload to 522,343. Bangladesh reported its first cases on March 8 and the first death on March 18.
Bangladesh signed an agreement with Serum Institute last month for 30 million doses of Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine. Bangladesh approved the emergency use of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Jan 7.
Bangladesh High Commission in New Delhi on Sunday paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to mark the great leader’s return to an independent and sovereign Bangladesh.
On January 10 in 1972, Bangabandhu stepped into the country after over nine and a half months of captivity in a Pakistan jail.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Muhammad Imran called Bangabandhu’s homecoming as the fulfilment of victory.
He recalled the help and assistance that India had extended to Bangladesh during the Liberation War in 1971.
The high commissioner said Bangabandhu, in his historic address to countless people during a stopover in New Delhi on his way to Dhaka, laid the foundation of the “unique Indo-Bangla relations.”
Two prominent Indian journalists Gautam Lahiri and Soumya Bandyopadhyay took part in the discussion and underscored the importance of further consolidation of the mutually beneficial relationship between Bangladesh and India.
Earlier, the high commissioner laid a floral tribute at the portrait of the Father of the Nation at the mission’s Bangabandhu Corner.
A documentary, edited by the high commissioner, was screened on the occasion.
It featured Bangabandhu’s release from a Pakistani jail on January 8, his arrival in London, meeting with former British Prime Minister Edward Heath, Bangabandhu’s press conference in London, his stopover in New Delhi before finally landing in Dhaka on January 10 and his speech before a sea of people at the then Race Course Maidan.
A moment of silence was observed, followed by special prayers, in memory of Bangabandhu.