PM asks Bangladesh envoys to pursue economic diplomacy

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LONDON, July 21, 2019 (BSS) – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has asked the
Bangladesh envoys in European countries to pursue the economic diplomacy
alongside the political one as she joined the first-ever Bangladeshi envoys
conference in the British capital here.

“We need to focus more on economic issues besides political diplomacy so
the ongoing development in Bangladesh to continues,” PM’s Press Secretary
Ihsanul Karim quoted her as saying while briefing reporters after the
conference late yesterday.

She simultaneously asked them to put in their efforts to attract more
investment in the country, boost trade and commercial relations and enhance
Bangladesh’s image further in Europe.

The premier said at the same time the envoys would have to provide better
and faster services to expatriate Bangladeshis living in different countries.

A total of 15 Bangladesh ambassadors, high commissioners and permanent
representatives posted in different countries of Europe attended the
conference titled “Envoys (in Europe) Conference” at a local hotel on
Saturday afternoon (London time).

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen also spoke on the occasion while State
Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam, Premier’s Principal Secretary Md
Nojibur Rahman and Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque were present.

The press secretary said the prime minister held discussions with the
Bangladeshi envoys on various other issues including the Rohingya crisis and
migration to Europe and gave them necessary directives during the conference.

Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary
celebrations and the Golden Jubilee of the country’s independence were also
discussed as well in the conference.

Sheikh Hasina told the envoys that world was changing fast which required
them to take effective and time-befitting action plans for establishing
deeper and broader relations with the foreign countries.

“To this effect we need to explore opportunities for boosting investment,
trade and skilled manpower export in countries particularly in the European
states,” she said.

The premier said through a massive skill development campaign Bangladesh
now has a very big and skilled youth force to meet the global job markets
demand while by now the government “introduced apps to help people learn nine
different languages” as well.

Sheikh Hasina suggested the envoys to assess the markets of their
respective country of assignment and identify the barriers to bolster
economic ties.

The prime minister said her government was working with specific target of
making Bangladesh a developed nation by 2041 and asked the diplomats to draw
their own specific targets in line with the goal.

“We have already attained over 8.1 per cent GDP growth and set a target of
8.2 percent GDP growth for the current 2019-20 financial year,” she said
adding that the per capita income will reach at US$2000 in 2020.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh was also no more dependent on aid as “we’re
sourcing over 90 per cent of Taka 5, 23,190 crore national budget from our
own resources”.

The prime minster noted that some groups including those, who failed in
the elections, were carrying out propaganda against Bangladesh to halt the
country’s ongoing development.

In particular, she said BNP raised questions against the last general
election after doing “nomination trade” instead of meaningfully participation
in it.

Sheikh Hasina said people in Bangladesh no more believe in propaganda,
instead they put their faith in the socioeconomic development efforts and
achievement of the government of Awami League.

Referring to the foreign policy, enunciated by Father of the Nation
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman the prime minister said that the foreign
policy of “friendship to all malice to none” put Bangladesh in a prestigious
position at the global stage.

She said her government solved many contentious issues including exchange
of enclaves with India through diplomatic dialogues, following this policy.

“Similarly, we hope the Rohingya issue will also be solved through
discussions,” she said.

Pointing to the geographical position of Bangladesh, she said the country
could be a bridge between the East and the West.

The envoys who attended the conference were Abu Zafar (Austria), Mohammed
Shahdat Hossain (Belgium), Muhammad Abdul Muhith (Denmark), Kazi Imtiaz
Hossain (France), Imtiaz Ahmed (Germany) , Jashim Uddin (Greece), Abdus
Sobhan Sikder (Italy), Sheikh Mohammed Belal ( Netherlands), Muhammad
Mahfuzur Rahman (Poland) , Ruhul Alam Siddique (Portugal), Dr. S.M. Saiful
Hoque (Russia), Hassan Mahmood Khandker (Spain), Nazmul Islam (Sweden),
Shameem Ahsan (Switzerland) and Saida Muna Tasneem (United Kingdom).

At the conference each of the envoys made separate presentation on the
activities, challenges and future plan of actions for their respective
country of assignment.

The prime minister arrived in London on Friday afternoon on an official
visit to the United Kingdom to attend the envoys’ conference and other
programmes.

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