Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen hosted a farewell luncheon in honour of outgoing Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard on Tuesday at State guesthouse Padma. Prior to the luncheon, the outgoing Swiss ambassador paid a farewell call on the foreign secretary. Both sides also exchanged views on the issues of Rohingya crisis, Ukraine war, etc. and hoped that the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Switzerland will continue to get stronger in the coming days. Ambassador Masud Bin Momen congratulated Nathalie Chuard on her successful tenure in Bangladesh and appreciated her efforts and contributions in strengthening Bangladesh-Switzerland bilateral relations. Read more: Masud Bin Momen bids farewell to Doraiswami Referring to the visit of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to Switzerland in 1972 and his vision to make Bangladesh as the “Switzerland of the East”, foreign secretary thanked the Swiss government for playing an integral role as a very important development partner in the spectacular socio-economic development journey of Bangladesh. The outgoing ambassador of Switzerland expressed satisfaction at the Swiss development cooperation to Bangladesh over the last five decades and the growing bilateral trade and investment relations between the two countries.
Switzerland to work with all Bangladeshi stakeholders for a ‘smooth, inclusive, sustainable’ LDC graduation
Outgoing Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard has said that as a “solid and agile” development partner, Switzerland will work with all stakeholders in Bangladesh and its multifaceted cooperation will take on crucial issues to make the latter’s graduation from least-developed status “smooth, inclusive and sustainable”. “The country is now at a crossroads with the upcoming graduation from the LDCs group. Switzerland welcomes this exciting development,” she told UNB in an exclusive interview. Nonetheless, the ambassador said, this graduation carries with it both opportunities and challenges, and it will be essential to prepare for post-graduation scenarios – leaving no one behind, addressing structural issues and making the private sector more competitive. “Being a country vulnerable to climate change, managing climate and disaster risks is another pressing challenge,” she said. Read more: Switzerland will continue to be a reliable partner for Bangladesh: Nathalie Chuard Evaluating the bilateral relations today, the Swiss envoy said 50 years is quite a long time but it is also only the beginning. “Since the birth of your nation, we have grown a solid, diversified and robust partnership. This relation has evolved, and I am really glad when I see where we are today and also where we are heading,” she said. During the celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the bilateral ties last year, Ambassador Chuard said they were able to showcase the scope and diversity of the partnership. “We launched our new Bangladesh Country Program that is aligned on the objectives of the Agenda 2030 and aims at supporting your country’s development for the years to come,” she said, adding that they danced to the songs of “Nodi Rocks”, an initiative for the youth to raise awareness on climate change and protecting rivers through music. Read more: Switzerland a serious global player, reliable partner of Bangladesh: Ambassador Chuard Together with other partners, the envoy said, they held exhibitions in Dhaka and Cox’s Bazar to underscore the significance of humanitarian principles. “For the first time, our bilateral trade also crossed the significant milestone of US $1 billion in 2022. I think all these aspects show how diverse and multifaceted our relations have become. While I look back, I am really proud of what we have accomplished together, and looking forward to the next steps of our common journey,” she said. Responding to a question, Ambassador Chuard said Bangladesh is a beautiful country, boasting a colourful and vibrant society always full of energy. “I have been lucky enough to travel widely throughout Bangladesh – from the chars in Gaibandha to the Chittagong Hill Tracts and the Sundarbans. Far away from Dhaka’s hustle and bustle, experiences such as a motorbike ride in a far-flung Char has surely given me another perspective of this country, and I have loved doing it! The people here are amazing and exceptionally resilient.” Read more: Swiss Ambassador Chuard sees “massive potential” to boost trade, investment with Bangladesh She also said, “Whether we talk about climate change or economic development, Bangladesh is everything from the chars, the agriculture to the busy ports or urban centers and its readymade garment factories, and it has been important for me to experience it firsthand. It is about the diversity of your country. It is also in all these fields, and many more, that Switzerland has worked with Bangladesh on its journey.” Wherever she has been, Ambassador Chuard said, she has always felt welcome. “What maybe has impressed me the most are the women and the role they have played in the country's socioeconomic advancement.” Switzerland has also supported numerous projects towards women’s empowerment and participation, including in the political arena, Chuard said. On that note, the ambassador mentioned that Bangladesh is preparing for its next national election, expected to be held in January 2024. Read More: Newly appointed Bangladesh envoy Sufiur presents credentials to Swiss president, seeks better relations “We call on all stakeholders, including political parties, to uphold and ensure citizens’ voting rights and I hope that these elections will be free, fair and credible. This is an important signal for Bangladesh and its citizens,” she said. The ambassador said the two countries are working on an air service agreement and one MoU regarding knowledge partnership. “While these are still under negotiation, I am confident that these agreements will pave the way for broadening the horizon of our future relations,” she said. The Swiss envoy said, “I find that there is another positive development and it is related to the area of exchanging banking information.” Read More: Switzerland, UNDP sign deal to promote peaceful, inclusive societies for sustainable development Switzerland is one of the world’s leading financial centers, they have made substantial contributions to international standards, and are committed to their effective enforcement. “My country has been very dedicated to continue cooperating with Bangladesh on this topic in accordance with globally recognized procedures. In this regard, I am encouraged by the discussions that have taken place, following our proposals to tackle illicit financial flows,” Ambassador Chuard said. GLOBAL CRISIS AND DIPLOMACY Asked whether diplomacy is always effective in solving major global issues like the Rohingya crisis, the Swiss envoy said, “Obviously, as a career diplomat, I strongly believe in diplomacy… There is no doubt that solutions are found in diplomacy.” To prevent conflict, she said, all parties need to talk together in order to find solutions and common ground. “Diplomacy is a highly powerful and effective tool for nations and stakeholders to communicate and develop mutually accepted solutions.” Read More: Info Exchange: Bangladesh, Switzerland to discuss ways to develop mechanism The ambassador said the world is facing numerous crises at the same time, and people are very worried and affected in various ways. “With the recovery from the pandemic, the aggression against Ukraine and the omnipresent climate change, none of us really knows how it will play out,” she said. “If there is one thing that these global challenges have taught us, it is the importance of reaching consensus, defending a rules-based order, pushing for global peace and prosperity and strengthening multilateralism. Diplomacy and bringing stakeholders together are more important than ever, particularly for countries like Bangladesh and Switzerland,” Chuard said. Since the first of January and for the next two years, Switzerland is a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Read More: Switzerland keen to work with Bangladesh to increase farmers’ socio-economic resilience against climatic risks “Our entry to this important UN body stems from my country’s strong affinity for multilateralism and willingness to play its role to stand up for a just and peaceful international order,” she said. The membership to the UN body is also a great opportunity to collaborate closely with Bangladesh on vital global peace, security and development challenges, Chuard said. “For my country, it is very important that the Rohingya crisis is not forgotten and that a lasting and sustainable solution is found. And until the conditions for the return of the refugees are met, we will continue to stand next to Bangladesh to support the response to the crisis,” said the envoy. Responding to a question, Ambassador Chuard said diplomacy is a continuous process and requires not only skills but also convictions. Read More: Nagad, Swisscontact team up to enhance financial inclusion of RMG workers “It is a means to an end rather than an end in itself. One must remain persistent and continue working on pending topics and challenges. And if someone tells you that diplomacy does not work, that means that we should try harder,” she said. DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION Switzerland is an “effective, innovative and committed” development partner of Bangladesh and development cooperation has traditionally been a foundation of the bilateral ties, the ambassador said. Over the last five decades, Switzerland has supported Bangladesh with over $1 billion in development cooperation and humanitarian aid. “The modalities of our cooperation with Bangladesh have evolved over time and our current ongoing cooperation programme aims to assist the sustainable graduation of Bangladesh from the LDC group, develop a more prosperous, just and resilient society, and foster peaceful coexistence,” she added. Read More: Switzerland keen to invest in Bangladesh’s disaster-prone areas “Switzerland will invest around Tk 1450 crore to implement this program by 2025. In close partnership with all stakeholders, our program complements the support for more trade and direct foreign investment with the promotion of the Swiss key values of good governance and respect of human rights to ensure sustainability, including for economic growth,” said Ambassador Chuard. ECONOMIC COOPERATION The Swiss envoy said economic cooperation has become another strong pillar of the bilateral relations between the two countries. “Since my arrival in 2020, I have observed the great potential and a shared goal with our counterparts here to increase trade and investment between our countries,” she said, adding that the situation seems promising, taking into account the trend over the last period. The bilateral trade crossed the landmark $1 billion threshold in 2022, for the first time ever. The envoy said, “And for us, a country with roughly the same population as Chattogram, this is a significant outcome, making us one of Bangladesh’s most active trading partners!” She said Swiss investors have a strong and diverse footprint in the country and they provide cutting-edge and essential products, technologies and services in many crucial economic sectors. “My impression is that our companies are increasingly becoming advanced technology suppliers for the local market and businesses, enabling the expansion of the latter. I am confident that more technological partnerships and Swiss investments will follow, including green technologies, if we can tap more into the diversity of trade and investment promotion tools on each side,” she said. INVESTMENT CLIMATE The Swiss envoy said the level of foreign direct investment remains relatively low in the country and climate-related issues therefore frequently feature in many of her meetings with Bangladeshi decision-makers. Read More: Swiss Ambassador Chuard sees “massive potential” to boost trade, investment with Bangladesh “I welcome the several measures that the government has undertaken in recent years to attract new investments and improve the ease of doing business. In my view, it is clearly a win-win since foreign investments are also crucial to take Bangladesh to its next level of development,” she said. “In this context, I would like to mention that if you take care of them well, the existing investors can become your country’s best ambassadors for attracting more FDIs,” she added. NEXT DESTINATION “As a diplomat, I have been to many countries and I put my heart where my mission is. Bangladesh is no different. As of the first of March, I will be the new director of the Geneva Centre for Security Sector Governance (DCAF),” said the envoy. DCAF has programs that touch on more than 70 countries and facilitates, drives and shapes security sector reform policy and programming worldwide. Read More: Bangladesh, Switzerland discuss celebration of 50 years of ties in Davos “I am glad and honored to take on this new challenge at such a crucial time and find it very motivating to lead an organization that makes states and people safer, and promotes good governance, rule of law and respect for human rights,” she said. “This is at the core of what my country stands for and so close to my heart. As a Swiss diplomat, I am also proud to soon be part of “International Geneva” and promote its vision of a world of peace, rights and prosperity,” the Swiss envoy mentioned.
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.
Swiss Ambassador Nathalie Chuard’s statement that Dhaka didn’t ask for information about Bangladesh money deposited in Swiss banks put the country in an embarrassing situation, said the High Court on Sunday. A High Court bench of Justice Md Nazrul Islam Talukder and Justice Khizir Hayat made the observation after back-to-back statements by the Bangladesh Bank and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen that Bangladesh didn’t get any information from the Swiss authorities despite repeated requests. The HC bench then directed the State and the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to submit their statements as affidavits and fixed August 21 for issuing a ruling on the matter. Also read: Info of Bangladesh money in Swiss banks: BFIU submits report to HC Senior Lawyer Khurshid Alam Khan stood for the ACC while Deputy Attorney General (DAG) AKM Amin Uddin Manik appeared for the State at the hearing. ACC lawyer Khurshid told the Court that his client had requested the Bangladesh Financial Intelligence Unit (BFIU) to collect financial information on some people from the Swiss authorities in three separate cases since 2014. “On one instance, BFIU told the ACC that the Swiss authorities couldn’t provide any information about one person. In the two other cases, BFIU didn’t provide any data,” Khurshid told the court. He added that the information BFIU received from Swiss Financial Intelligence Unit (FIU) are confidential and can only be used as intelligence. “This information can’t be used as evidence in court proceedings,” he said. Separately, the deputy attorney general told the court that Swiss ambassador’s comment has created confusion. Also read: Why govt didn't seek info of Bangladesh money in Swiss banks: HC “Swiss banks published their yearly reports on June 16. The Bangladesh government then requested the Swiss FIU to provide financial information on some people and banks through the Egmond Secure Web (ESW). The Swiss authorities are yet to comply,” DAG Amin said. The State also informed the court that since becoming a member of ESW in 2013, Bangladesh has sought financial information on a total of 67 people and institutions from the Swiss FIU. “Till now, the Swiss authority has provided information on only one person, which BFIU has forwarded to the ACC,” added Amin. The HC bench issued an order on the matter on Thursday in which it asked the State and the ACC to take part in the hearing. Obeying the court’s order, the State and the ACC took part in the hearing on Sunday.
Swiss Ambassador to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard on Saturday said the “Swiss Corner” at the National Museum is a milestone of Switzerland’s growing ties with Bangladesh. She invited everyone to visit it with families and friends to learn more about her country as the redesigned “Switzerland Corner” at the World Civilization Gallery of the National Museum of Bangladesh was launched through a ceremony. State Minister for Cultural Affairs K M Khalid attended the ceremony as the chief guest and officially inaugurated the exhibition corner together with the Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard. READ: Ties with Bangladesh to grow: Nepalese FM Government officials, international partners, eminent cultural actors and the members of civil society and media of Bangladesh also attended the event, maintaining health protocols. The state minister highlighted the importance of further enhancing bilateral relations and expanding cooperation also in the areas of art and culture. The Switzerland Corner features over 100 Swiss artefacts and multimedia displays. This permanent exhibition, accessible to all museum visitors, provides a great opportunity to learn not only about the country’s longstanding and broad-ranging partnership with Bangladesh, but also about Switzerland’s values and unique characteristics: a dynamic and prosperous country, thriving on innovation and its rich cultural heritage, playing an active role in global affairs, committed to sustainable development. This corner is launched at a time when Switzerland and Bangladesh are gearing up steps towards celebrating the 50th anniversary of their bilateral relations next year. READ: Sudanese President wants broader ties with Bangladesh; seeks more investment Over the past five decades, the Swiss Embassy said, the relationship between the two countries has expanded manifold in the fields of humanitarian and development cooperation, economic and political relations as well as cultural exchanges.
Switzerland wants to strengthen and widen its ties with Bangladesh to explore "amazing potential" together as Bangladesh is set to celebrate its 50 years of independence next year with Vision 2041 in place, says its envoy in Dhaka.
Swiss companies continue to see potential in the Bangladeshi market despite various challenges related to ease of doing business as well as COVID-19, Switzerland said on Wednesday.
A clutch of diplomats stationed in Dhaka on Saturday highlighted the values set by Bangabandhu and the importance of following his ideology of social rights for all.
Newly appointed Ambassador of Switzerland to Bangladesh Nathalie Chuard on Wednesday said she would work to further strengthen and expand the bilateral ties.