Dr AK Abdul Momen
Business Summit 2023: FM urges global participants to be part of smart Bangladesh
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said Bangladesh wants to be the manufacturing hub of the world and welcomes all to be a part of the smart Bangladesh. 'We invite you to join us in our development journey for mutual benefits," he told the global participants at Bangladesh Business Summit 2023 in Dhaka. Momen said Bangladesh Business Summit is a testament to the entrepreneurial spirit of the nation, and it showcases the immense potential and opportunities that Bangladesh has to offer to the world. "We have spirit, we have the Initiatives and we can do, sky is our limit. We are committed to move Bangladesh from “Digital Bangladesh” to Smart Bangladesh," he said. To achieve the goal of Smart Bangladesh by 2041, Momen said they are creating smart labor force, smart students, smart productive capacity, smart infrastructure, smart government, smart rules and regulations and smart people. Also Read: Find ways to bring commodity prices to a normal level: PM tells business leaders "Let us continue to work together to unleash the full potential of Bangladesh and create a prosperous future for our people and the world," said the Foreign Minister. The apex trade body of the country, FBCCI, is arranging this summit on the 50th anniversary of its founding. The Bangladesh Business Summit is an excellent opportunity to showcase potential and to attract more foreign investment, Momen said. "Our country's strategic location, vibrant culture, young and resourceful people plus stable and business friendly government make us an attractive destination for investment," he said. "I repeat we have a young and educated workforce, a strong legal framework, and a government that is committed to creating an enabling environment for business to grow. Therefore, I welcome you all to invest and be a winner," Momen mentioned.
‘Whatever you need, let us know’: Momen tells Turkish counterpart
Bangladesh's Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen had a telephone conversation yesterday (February 15, 2023) with his Turkish counterpart Mevlut Cavusoglu to express solidarity with the government and people of Turkey, and to assure of additional support. Momen conveyed to the Turkish foreign minister that Bangladesh is sending additional 10,000 tents, with the initial 2000, to Turkey for earthquake victims, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. He also requested his Turkish counterpart to let Bangladesh know if they need anything else, adding that Bangladesh wants to send construction workers for reconstruction efforts in the affected areas. Momen again expressed condolences for the loss of lives caused by the earthquakes and pledged support for Turkish people. Also read: Vinay Kwatra’s visit to add momentum to Dhaka-Delhi ties, India hopes “We are truly devastated by the scale of destruction and deaths. We express our wholehearted condolence and also, as your brother, we will try to assist you as much as we can. This is a great shock to all of us in Bangladesh,” he told his Turkish counterpart during the phone call. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu thanked Momen for calling and also thanked the government of Bangladesh – including the president, the prime minister, speaker of the parliament and the foreign minister – and the people for their sincere messages of condolence and solidarity. Thanking the Bangladesh government for sending search, rescue and medical teams and tents, he said these are what they urgently need at this moment. Foreign Minister Momen wanted to know about the current situation and his Turkish counterpart stated that the situation is not stable yet, and it is worse than what people are seeing on TV. Read More: Rising toll makes quake deadliest in Turkey's modern history “We lost more than 35,000 people and there are people under the rubbles that we couldn’t reach. We are doing our best to normalize life, to provide temporary shelter, and also, we are planning the reconstruction of the region affected by the earthquakes,” said the Turkish foreign minister. He also expressed concerns about the Bangladeshi citizens who were wounded and wished them quick recovery. Momen said two Bangladeshi students have been rescued from debris and they are doing fine. Offering Bangladesh’s support, Momen said, “We can send the construction workers. And whatever you need, let us know and we will try our best.” Read More: Bangladesh team rescues one alive, recovers 22 bodies so far in Turkey “If we need anything else, we will reach out without hesitation,” the Turkish foreign minister responded, as quoted by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The death toll from the magnitude 7.8 and 7.5 earthquakes that struck nine hours apart in south-eastern Turkey and northern Syria rose to 33,185 and was certain to increase as search teams find more bodies.
Bangladesh likely to get back the money borrowed by Sri Lanka: FM
Bangladesh is expected to get back the money borrowed by Sri Lanka by September this year as the country's economic situation is improving. "Sri Lanka is gradually doing better. They are recovering slowly. We have given them time till September (to repay the loan)," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters at state guesthouse Padma on Sunday (February 05, 2023) afternoon, hoping for repayment by Sri Lanka within the timeframe. The Foreign Minister, who returned home Sunday from Sri Lanka, said the new government in Sri Lanka is running the country “pretty well”. The Sri Lankan government hopes that they will recover from the problem and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is coming up for support, Momen said. Also read: FM likely to visit New Delhi March 1-2 Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has conveyed Sri Lanka's gratitude to the Bangladesh government and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the timely assistance as the country battles to rebuild its economy. “I must say they are very grateful to us,” said Foreign Minister Momen.Foreign Minister Momen visited Sri Lanka as a guest for the country's 75th Independence Day celebrations, for which the guest list was filled up mostly by neighbouring countries at foreign minister-level. Sri Lanka and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently reached a staff-level agreement on a 48-month, $2.9 billion Extended Fund Facility which will also help it secure short-term funds from other donors. Bangladesh Bank earlier granted Sri Lanka six more months to repay the $200 million loan after the Island nation requested to extend the repayment period due to its prolonged economic crisis. Read More: Sri Lanka thanks Bangladesh for timely assistance on road to recovery In a friendly gesture, Bangladesh had extended the loan to cash-strapped Sri Lanka under a currency swap arrangement in 2021. Sri Lanka and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently reached a staff-level agreement on a 48-month, $2.9 billion Extended Fund Facility which will also help it secure short-term funds from other donors. Bangladesh Bank earlier granted Sri Lanka six more months to repay the $200 million loan after the Island nation requested to extend the repayment period due to its prolonged economic crisis. In a friendly gesture, Bangladesh had extended the loan to cash-strapped Sri Lanka under a currency swap arrangement in 2021. Also read: FM Momen to join Sri Lanka's 75th Independence Day celebrations in Colombo
Being invited to G20 Summit is a big honour for Bangladesh, says Momen
Bangladesh sees its series of engagements with the Group of Twenty (G20) under India’s Presidency this year as a “big honour” for the country. “We will raise our issues there. It is a big honour for us. We should be prudent,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, noting that Bangladesh is the only South Asian country invited by the host. The Group of Twenty (G20) is the premier forum for international economic cooperation, which plays an “important role” in shaping and strengthening global architecture and governance on all major international economic issues. India holds the Presidency of the G20 from 1 December 2022 to 30 November 2023. Read: Argentine foreign minister will visit Dhaka late Feb, asked to bring Messi with him: Momen Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has been invited to attend the 18th G20 Heads of States and Governments Summit, which will take place during September 9-10 this year in New Delhi. Momen said Hasina will be attending the Summit in New Delhi in September. India has invited Bangladesh, Egypt, Mauritius, the Netherlands, Nigeria, Oman, Singapore, Spain and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) as guest countries to its meetings and summit, according to the Ministry of External Affairs, India. Apart from the G20 leaders, Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Saeed Hussein Khalil El-Sisi, Mauritian Prime Minister Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari, Oman Head of State Sultan Haitham bin Tarik, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan have been invited to the G20 Summit. Read: Ambassador Lee visits South Korea-supported innovative ICT-integrated pilot classroom in Dhaka Meanwhile, Momen will attend the G20 foreign ministers' meeting in New Delhi on March 1-2. Hasina paid a state visit to India from September 5 to 8 last year at the invitation of her Indian counterpart Narendra Modi. Ahead of the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister’s visits, Vinay Kwatra will be in Dhaka in the third week of February to have bilateral talks with his Bangladesh counterpart Masud Bin Momen, said a diplomatic source. Kwatra assumed charge as foreign secretary on May 1 last year. Read More: US supports India for G20 presidency The two-day first G20 International Financial Architecture Working Group meeting under the G20 Indian Presidency began on January 30 in Chandigarh. The Group of Twenty (G20) comprises 19 countries - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Türkiye, United Kingdom and United States and the European Union. The G20 members represent around 85% of the global GDP, over 75% of the global trade, and about two-thirds of the world population. Read more: India’s G20 agenda to be inclusive, ambitious, action-oriented, decisive: Modi
Argentine foreign minister will visit Dhaka late Feb, asked to bring Messi with him: Momen
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today (January 30, 2023) said his Argentine counterpart Santiago Andrés Cafiero will be in Dhaka on a two-day official visit in February – as the two sides want to strengthen ties in the coming days. “I have invited him. He (Argentine foreign minister) will come. I told him to bring Lionel Messi with him,” Momen told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, adding that it will be a plus for Bangladesh if Argentina opens a mission in Bangladesh. Momen said Argentina “in principle agreed” to open its mission or consulate in Dhaka and the government of Bangladesh also has a plan to open a mission in Argentina. Bangladesh has already opened a mission in Brazil. “We hope we will open a Bangladesh mission in Argentina in future,” he said, adding that Bangladesh considers three things – size of Bangladeshi community there, importance of the host country, and flow of remittance into Bangladesh – before opening any mission abroad. Also read: Ambassador Lee visits South Korea-supported innovative ICT-integrated pilot classroom in Dhaka Momen said Argentina is a good friend of Bangladesh and always remains supportive. “We have a very good relationship with Argentina.” “I believe, hearts of the people of Bangladesh and Argentina are united by football, despite our geographical distance,” Momen said in a recent letter to the Argentine foreign minister. He reiterated Bangladesh’s commitment to deepen the existing relations and friendship between the two countries. “I look forward to working closely to consolidate our mutual priorities and opening of missions in each other’s capital in the coming days,” he said. Read More World champions Argentina likely to visit Dhaka in next June Homes and streets across Argentina and Bangladesh became places of celebration after an epic World Cup final in which the former’s national team beat France. It was the country’s third World Cup title.
Bangladesh will have to maintain good relations with US, India and China: Momen
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said Bangladesh will continue to maintain a balanced foreign policy – noting the importance of the country’s geostrategic location. “My challenge is – there are three countries – the United States, India and China. These are powerful countries. I have to maintain the relationship with these three countries in such a way so that we can have an improved relationship with each country,” he said. The minister was speaking as the chief guest at a citizens’ dialogue on Bangladesh’s achievements, opportunities and challenges. Bangladesh Study Group hosted the dialogue at Jatiya Press Club. Read More: Mission in London aims to guide remittance flows through official channels Momen said Bangladesh cannot ignore any country and reiterated that it is maintaining a balanced role in regards to ties with India and China. “We need to move ahead maintaining a balance with them.” The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh has become a center of interest due to its important geostrategic location. He thinks the future world will be an Asian-led world. Asia is on track to top 50 percent of global GDP by 2040 and drive 40 percent of the world’s consumption, representing a real shift in the world’s center of gravity. The foreign minister also said that the USA is a “major power” and Bangladesh will have to pursue good relations with the United States. “You will be happy to know that we have developed a very good relationship with India.” He said Bangladesh is going through a “golden chapter” in terms of its relations with India and the trade relations between the two countries are also on the rise. Momen thanked the Indian government for demonstrating its respect for Bangladesh through invites to all the meetings and Summit of the G20. The Foreign Minister is scheduled to attend the G20 foreign ministers’ meeting – to be held in New Delhi, India on March 1 and 2. Momen said it is not so easy to have equally good relations with all the major powers but Bangladesh is lucky to manage it comfortably as there is a “great and pragmatic leader” like Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. The foreign minister also highlighted Bangladesh’s friendly relations with Russia, the European Union and the countries in the Middle-East including the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Momen said Bangladesh has three major resources: human resources, fertile land and water.“We will be able to achieve the goal of ‘Sonar Bangla’ if these three resources are properly utilised,” he said. Read More: Govt working to consolidate relations with neighbours: State Minister Appreciating Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, Momen said Bangladesh’s dignity has been boosted globally through her development efforts.The foreign minister said Bangladesh is now considered a model for economic development. Momen said peace and stability are very important to continue the development journey. “We don’t want to hurt peace and stability. Even, we are promoting peace and stability in the region,” he said, adding that those countries are doing very well economically where peace and stability are ensured. State Minister for Planning Dr Shamsul Alam spoke as special guest at the discussion chaired by Bangladesh Study Trust Chairman and former Vice Chancellor of National University Prof. Dr. Harun-or-Rashid. Dhaka University International Relations Department Prof ASM Ali Ashraf presented a keynote paper while Bangladesh Study Trust General Secretary TH M Jahangir delivered welcome remarks.
'Time for Indian businesses to focus more on Bangladesh'
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday said the business communities of both Bangladesh and India should draw close and play their due role in fostering mutual prosperity and economic advancement of their peoples. "Time is ripe for the Indian business community to focus more on Bangladesh and take advantage of its economic growth, cheaper cost and huge consumer base," he said. Momen said both the governments are sincerely exploring the avenues to further facilitate their trade and investment relations and have agreed to introduce negotiations on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). The Foreign Minister was speaking as the chief guest at a session titled "Trade and Commerce" at the police ground in Silchar, Assam that was chaired by Kambhampati Hari Babu, Governor of the state of Mizoram, India Read more: Momen inaugurates ‘Bangabandhu Corner’ and ‘Bangabandhu garden’ at NIT, Silchar Chandra Mohan Patowary, Minister for Environment and Forests, Act East Policy Affairs and Welfare of MinoritiesGovernment of Assam, India and Mustafizur Rahman, High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India also spoke. Momen said Bangladesh is India’s most important development and trading partner. "India receives the highest number of tourists and medical patients from Bangladesh. Thousands of Indian nationals are working in Bangladesh, contributing to both the economies," he said. "I am confident that the deep bonds of friendship existing between Bangladesh and India shall continue to grow and flourish," Momen said. The India Foundation and the Ministry of Culture, Government of India organized the session at the Silchar-Sylhet Festival. Read more: Bangladesh delegation led by FM Momen attends 1st Silchar-Sylhet Festival-2022 Momen said Bangladesh is uniquely located to enable Indian investors to export their products to not only to the North Eastern States of India, but also to Nepal, Bhutan, and to South East Asian countries. On the other hand, he said, geographical proximity makes the North East Region lucrative for Bangladesh to invest in small and medium scale sectors like food-processing industries, agro-based industries, IT sector, and forest-based and tourism based industries. "I would urge Indian investors to consider possible investments in infrastructure projects, manufacturing, in energy and transport sectors. Indian investors and business houses can set up industries in Bangladesh through Buy-Back arrangements by reducing time, cost and resources," said the Foreign Minister.
Several countries, including Afghanistan, suffered due to foreigners’ role: Momen
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Saturday advised the opposition leaders to reach out to people at the grassroots instead of seeking favour from foreigners, saying that foreigners have their own interests. He mentioned that people in a number of countries, including in Afghanistan, suffered due to foreigners’ role there. “Don’t listen to foreigners, listen to your leaders. After all, this is our own country. We don’t want to harm our country,” Momen told reporters. Read more: Bangladesh seeks wider cooperation with UAE Recalling some foreigners’ role in the past, the Foreign Minister said, “I have much confidence in the people of this country.” Momen said if the opposition parties reach out to the people it will be good for them and the country. Responding to a question, Momen said diplomats stationed in Dhaka can convey to the government of Bangladesh if they have anything to say but this should be done by maintaining the code of conduct. Momen cited examples of how the US expelled Russian diplomats and said powerful countries can do that. “But when the time comes, we will take action, too.” Read more: PM’s visit to be delayed for political situation, Covid restrictions in Japan: FM PM’s visit to be delayed for political situation, Covid restrictions in Japan: FM Earlier, he attended the "International Charity Bazaar" at the Foreign Service Academy hosted by the Foreign Office Spouses’ Association (FOSA).
Dhaka seeks greater trade, investment with visa-free Commonwealth regime
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has called for strengthening free mobility of trade and investment and human resources and introducing a visa-free Commonwealth regime. He made the call during the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) at the Rwandan capital Kigali on Saturday. President of Rwanda Paul Kagame officially welcomed more than thirty heads of states, foreign ministers and delegates to this year’s CHOGM held on June 24-25 in Rwanda under the theme “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming.” The Commonwealth leaders discussed building more partnerships among Commonwealth countries in areas including sustainable and inclusive development, governance, and rule of law, post-covid recovery, youth technology, and innovation, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs here. Also read: Padma Bridge: FM says WB must be apologetic While delivering a speech at the CHOGM executive session, Foreign Minister Momen reiterated that commitment made in COP 26 on limiting temperature increase within 1.5 degrees and mobilizing US$ 100 billion climate finance must continue to remain the flagship agenda of the Commonwealth. He also proposed a crisis management mechanism in the Commonwealth to address equitable access to global public health goods and services, including vaccines and therapeutics as well as mental health. Momen called upon Commonwealth nations to exert pressure on the Myanmar regime to comply with the ‘provisional measures’ by the ICJ and create a conducive environment in the Rakhine State for the safe, secure and dignified return of their nationals. During the CHOGM the role of Bangladesh in climate change was commended by Australian Deputy Prime Minister and British Prime Minister while the Sultan of Brunei and Deputy Prime Minister of Malta commended Bangladesh on its pioneering role and initiative on Mental Health. Also read: Bangladesh ready to engage with everyone who wishes no harm: FM While attending CHOGM and its sideline meetings, the Foreign Minister also had bilateral meetings with his counterpart of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Jamaica, Sri Lanka, Australia and the UK. Issues of bilateral interest were discussed during the meetings. The two-day meeting ended with adopting declarations on childcare and protection reform; the Commonwealth Living Land Charter, the declaration on sustainable urbanization, and the Heads of Governments Communiqué. A leaders’ statement was also adopted at the retreat.
Momen leads Bangladesh to Commonwealth Heads of Government in Rwanda
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has joined the Commonwealth ministers meeting on Small States, reassuring Bangladesh’s support in seeking the concrete actions by the international community to build resilience for the climate-vulnerable nations. The foreign minister reached Kigali, Rwanda on Wednesday to attend the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM), leading an eight-member delegation. He was received by the Bangladesh envoys to London and Nairobi and the high officials from the Rwandan government. This year, CHOGM is taking place from 24-25 June under the theme “Delivering a Common Future: Connecting, Innovating, Transforming” with the attendance of more than thirty heads of government. Also read: Encouraged by Malaysia’s leadership on Myanmar crisis: UN expert In the afternoon, the FM had bilateral meetings with his counterpart, the Foreign Minister of Commonwealth of Dominica Dr. Kenneth M Darroux and the Foreign Minister of Sri Lanka Prof. G.L Peiris where the entire gamut of bilateral and multilateral issues was discussed.