Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Friday asked Bangladesh’s diplomats to reinforce economic diplomacy for expanding trade and business to achieve economic self-reliance for the country.
“Diplomacy has transformed into almost economic diplomacy. Now we need to see how we should expand trade and business, to achieve economic self-reliance by maintaining good relations with all, to achieve development, and bring peace through collaborating one another. We’ll have to carry out diplomacy in such a way,” she said.
The Prime Minister was addressing a discussion virtually from her official residence Ganobhaban.
The discussion was arranged by the Foreign Ministry at the Foreign Service Academy in the city commemorating the historic Bangla speech by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) as Bangabandhu delivered his maiden speech in the UNGA on this day in 1974.
“In today’s world, the responsibility of our diplomatic missions has also changed. Now it’s rather economic diplomacy, not only political diplomacy,” said the Prime Minister.
The Prime Minister said the diplomats should join the Bangladeshi missions in foreign lands after having proper training at the Foreign Service Academy.
“I would expect those who’re going to join work in our diplomatic missions to receive proper training here,” she said, adding that not only diplomats but also all staff of the missions and their spouses should be given training at the Academy.
Referring to the contributions of Bangladesh to the United Nations peacekeeping missions, Hasina said Bangladesh is always ready to establish peace. “We want peace to prevail across the world.”
“Since we’re dependent on each other, we expect cooperation from all. We’re also ready to cooperate with anyone, if needed. Bangladesh always wants peace to prevail across the world,” the Prime Minister said.
She said the Bangladesh forces, including army and police, have been playing a special role in the UN peacekeeping missions to check conflicts in various countries, sacrificing lives in some cases.
Hasina said Bangladesh won the membership of the United Nations in a short time after its independence, which was a big success in the diplomacy of Bangabandhu. Bangladesh became a member of almost all international organisations, including the UN and the Commonwealth during his tenure.
Mentioning that the maiden speech of Bangabandhu in the UNGA is still relevant, she said,” If we review the speech the Father of the Nation delivered in the UN on 25th September in 1974 (also on Friday), we would see we’re still dealing with the same issues in the international arena.”
In his speech, Bangabandhu focused on the environment, how to prevent damages caused by natural disasters, changing the fate of the poor, ensuring human rights, justice and socio-economic development as well as called upon the whole world to protect the people from diseases, Hasina said.
She said the Father of the Nation had given the foreign policy with the dictum ‘Friendship to all, malice to none’.
Following the dictum, the eldest daughter of Bangabandhu said her government has been making the socio-economic development of the country’s people keeping friendly relations with all. “Now the world is a global village where cooperation from all is critically needed,” she said.
About the geographical location of the country, Hasina said Bangladesh with a small area of only 54,000sq mile is a country of a huge population, which is to face natural calamity like flood, cyclone and tidal surge regularly alongside manmade disasters. Since Bangladesh does not have many resources, the government considers the manpower as a resource, she said.
Talking about the Covid-19 pandemic, the PM said her government has given the highest importance on food production as the famine may be seen in the world due to the coronavirus.
She said the government has been making efforts to produce food as much as possible and distribute the foods properly, provide food assistance to the poor and overall maintain the food security.
Noting that her government reduced the poverty rate from some 40 percent to 20.5 percent in the country, Hasina said they want to bring it down further. “I want to give a decent life to every man of Bangladesh,” she added.
At the function, Sheikh Hasina also opened the newly constructed Foreign Service Academy Building digitally in Sugandha in the city’s Balley road area.
Hasina unveiled the covers of two books titled “Bangabandhu, Sheikh Hasina and the United Nations: Bangladesh at the World Stage” and “Bangabandhu: The People’s Hero” published by the Foreign Ministry on the occasion of the Mujib Borsha (Mujib Year).
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka Mia Seppo spoke at the discussion meeting.
Rector of the Foreign Service Academy Ambassador Syed Masud Mahmood Khundoker made a presentation over the newly-constructed building of the academy.
Two audio-visual presentations were screened over Bangabandhus’s maiden speech in the UNGA as well as Bangabandhu’s first office in Sugandha depicting the early days of the government of Bangladesh as a nascent state.
Sugandha was the first Ganabhaban after the country’s independence from where the Father of the Nation led his government and used to formulate and conduct foreign policy matters, among other important issues.