Argentina’s foreign minister in Dhaka to reopen embassy, deepen ties
Argentina’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship Santiago Andrés Cafiero arrived in Dhaka this morning to inaugurate the South American country’s new embassy here and deepen trade and cultural relations. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen received him at the VIP Lounge of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport upon his arrival in Dhaka. Argentina is reopening its embassy here after 45 years. State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam will join with the Argentine foreign minister to inaugurate the Embassy of the Argentine Republic in Banani this afternoon.
‘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
FM Momen to join Sri Lanka's 75th Independence Day celebrations in Colombo
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen will join Sri Lanka's 75th Independence Day celebrations in Colombo on February 4. He reached Colombo on Thursday, said an official, adding that he will have a number of meetings apart from joining the Independence Day programmes there. Sri Lankan State Minister of Defence Premitha Bandara Tennakoon received Foreign Minister Dr Momen upon his arrival in Colombo. The main ceremony of the National Independence Day celebrations will be held on February 4 at 8.30 am at Galle Face Green under the patronage of Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena. Earlier, Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe has given out instructions to celebrate the 75th Independence Day “with pride at minimal cost” and with the new reformist programme for the next 25 years. Read More: Bangladesh's Nur Khan among winners of US' Global Human Rights Defender Award The Foreign Minister is likely to meet the Sri Lankan President and Prime Minister apart from his meeting with Sri Lankan Minister for Foreign Affairs Ali Sabry during his stay in Colombo. Nepal’s Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr Bimala Rai Paudyal will also join the celebrations and is likely to have a meeting with Minister Momen. As part of the 75th Independence Day celebration, a number of programmes are scheduled to be held from February 2 to 19. Read More: Bangladesh playing a critical, life-saving role in responding to climate-related disasters: Gwyn Lewis “We must celebrate the 75th Independence Anniversary; otherwise, the world will say that we are not capable of even celebrating our independence. Similarly, we need to attract tourists and investors to our country. We need to build a positive image of our country. Therefore, let us minimize our expenditure and celebrate our Day of Independence,” Sri Lankan media quoted President Ranil Wickremesinghe as saying. Read More: Dhaka urges Riyadh to consider crude or refined oil on deferred payment basis.
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
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.
Sanctions were ‘unilateral’, not by the UN: Chinese Ambassador
Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh Yao Wen today (January 23, 2023) said China supports any global initiative if it remains conducive to common development worldwide and avoids division or confrontation. He said any initiative by a country should be “open and inclusive” instead of being exclusive to a particular country or against any country. The Chinese ambassador made the remarks when a reporter wanted to know his views on various global initiatives including the Indo-Pacific strategy. Ambassador Wen had a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also read: Outgoing Chinese Ambassador Li Jiming hopes Rohingya repatriation will start next year Responding to a question on sanctioned Russian ship heading towards China, the ambassador said he saw the media reports and hoped that any sort of sanction would not affect ordinary people and cooperation with any country. He also said that those were “unilateral sanctions”, and not by the United Nations. Bangladesh has conveyed to the Russian side that they can send any ship except those 69 sanctioned ones carrying equipment for the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant. Sanctioned Russian ship Sparta III (Ursa Major) was scheduled to dock at Mongla port in Bangladesh at the end of December last year and unload cargo destined for the Rooppur power plant in Pabna. Read more: Bangladesh won’t accept those Russian ships which are under sanctions: FM But the authorities denied the ship permission to dock at the port after officials got a letter from the US Embassy in Dhaka, saying that the ship was on a list of Russian vessels sanctioned by the US. The ship is en route to the port of Shanghai, China, sailing at a speed of 10.4 knots and expected to arrive there on January 31, according to vesselfinder.com which provides real-time vessel data. Asked about the sanctioned ship's location, Foreign Minister Momen said they do not know anything further about the ship but reiterated that Bangladesh will not allow any sanctioned ship. Regarding the situation along the border with Myanmar, he said the relevant ministries are working and they are also in touch with the Bangladesh mission in Myanmar. Read More: Shipments for Rooppur plant and Bangabandhu Rail Bridge arrive at Mongla port "The situation is not good," said the foreign minister, noting that people are moving from one place to another out of panic. He said that no new entry from Myanmar will be allowed amid conflicts between two groups on the Myanmar side.
Switzerland will continue to be a reliable partner for Bangladesh: Nathalie Chuard
Outgoing Swiss Ambassador to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard has said her country will continue to be a reliable partner for Bangladesh in the days ahead. She paid a farewell call to Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen Monday (January 16, 2023) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Momen congratulated Nathalie on her successful tenure in Bangladesh and appreciated her efforts to further strengthen and broaden Bangladesh-Switzerland ties. Read more: Switzerland a serious global player, reliable partner of Bangladesh: Ambassador Chuard Highlighting the similarity of the foreign policies of the two countries, the foreign minister recalled Bangabandhu's vision of turning Bangladesh into the "Switzerland of the East." The Swiss ambassador expressed her satisfaction at the multifaceted cooperation between the two countries, particularly in the areas of trade and investment and development cooperation. The foreign minister invited more Swiss investment into Bangladesh, particularly in the advanced manufacturing sector. Read More: Newly appointed Bangladesh envoy Sufiur presents credentials to Swiss president, seeks better relations Also, Momen hoped that as a member of the United Nations Security Council for 2023-24, Switzerland would further contribute to global peace and security. He sought Switzerland's continued support towards the early repatriation of the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals to their country.
'Frequent visits' by US officials a good development: Foreign Minister
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today said Bangladesh remains “constructive and very positive” to address any gaps and wants to develop a “much better relationship” with the United States. “We are very happy that our constructive engagement with the USA is increasing,” he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – noting that there is reason for a much better relationship between the two countries. Momen said Bangladesh and the US believe and pursue the same values and principles like democracy and respect for human rights. “We might have gaps or weaknesses somewhere and we have taken corrective actions when the friendly country raised such issues,” he said, referring to measures taken regarding the Digital Security Act (DSA). Momen said they observed some weaknesses in the DSA, but by and large it was rectified. Also Read: Up to PM to decide whether Momen will remain foreign minister or not: Quader Responding to a question, the foreign minister said they welcome constructive engagement and have always said there is a set procedure if anyone has anything to say. “We remain very positive. If there is anything lacking, they will tell us officially. We will resolve it,” he added. He said there had been not a single case of enforced disappearance over the last three years as far as his knowledge goes, which he sees as a great improvement. “Five fingers of the hand are not equal. We take care of things if anyone creates any problem,” Momen said, adding that there had been no excesses from the RAB for many years. Momen said the elite force developed much maturity over the years and they have an in-built accountability system. “We don’t want to see any injustice anywhere,” said the foreign minister. Asked about the two proposed agreements – General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and the Acquisition Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) – with the US, Momen said, “Our major focus is people’s welfare. But to protect our economic development, security is also essential.” He said Bangladesh maintains multifaceted relations with the US including trade and investment, and the two countries work together in the areas of peacekeeping, counterterrorism, climate issues and maritime security. “They (US) have assisted us to keep the maritime boundary more secure,” said the minister. Momen referred to US President Joe Biden’s recent remarks acknowledging their enduring partnership with Dhaka and terming Bangladesh’s economic growth in the past 50 years “a remarkable story”. “I hope our nations will continue to work on democratic governance, climate change, refugees, and maritime security. We are invested in your success and support the ability of all Bangladeshis to freely participate in and contribute to their country's development,” Biden said, accepting the credentials of the newly-appointed Bangladesh Ambassador to the US, Muhammad Imran, at the White House. Asked about the frequent visits by US officials, Momen said this is a rather good development that engagement between the two countries is growing and it also reflects that there are growing opportunities in Bangladesh.
E-gates at Sylhet airport will improve passengers’ experience: Foreign Minister
The electronic gates at Sylhet Osmani International Airport will improve passengers’ experience and enhance quality of service, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said today. “We have already launched e-gates at three international airports in our country and have issued many e-passports so far,” he told reporters after the inauguration of the e-gates at Sylhet airport. Passengers who have e-passports will be able to complete the immigration activities through e-gates, he added. Recently the passport services have improved a lot, and one does not have to wait for a long time like before, Momen said. “The quality of our passport (service) will increase further through the launching of e-gates. Then we won’t need visas to visit many countries. Many countries are eager to sign visa waiver agreements with us,” he said. Also read: E-gates at Sylhet airport to open for passengers today Six e-gates were launched today at Sylhet airport. Three of them were set up for departure and three for entry. On Saturday, Maher Uddin Sheikh, deputy director of Sylhet Divisional Passport and Visa Office, said that immigration process will be completed fast. The government has taken this initiative, considering the convenience of expatriates, speeding up immigration procedures and raising the standard of services. Passengers can easily pass through the e-gates as the gates will be opened automatically after submitting an e-passport and the whole process will be completed within 18 seconds, said airport authorities. Earlier on June 7, twelve e-gates were inaugurated at Dhaka Airport.