Sheikh Hasina, who in now on a four-day official visit to Baku in Azerbaijan to attend the 18th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movemeent (NAM), stressed the need for its effective role in maintaining the peace.

The premier said, “While the United Nations is primarily responsible to deal with violent conflicts in many parts of the world, NAM can play an active role in the protection, maintenance and consolidation of peace.”

She added: “We should work together to utilize the strength and influence of NAM to prevent any country from destabilizing any region.”

Spelling out Bangladesh’s stance on disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, the prime minister said, “Bangladesh considers disarmament as an instrument for enhancing international security and has always been active in promoting disarmament. Bangladesh has also pledged firm and determined commitment to nuclear non-proliferation and its peaceful use.”

Describing Bangladesh as a strong believer in the goals of the Non-Aligned Movement, she said, “The NAM principles have in many ways defined the foreign policy of Bangladesh.”

In the connection, Sheikh Hasina, also elder daughter of the Father of the Nation, said, “In 1973, recognizing the importance of NAM, Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, decided to join the Movement in its Algiers’ Summit.”

At that Summit, Bangabandhu uttered with great conviction, the premier recalled and quoted Bangabandhu as saying: “The world is divided between those who are the oppressors and those who are the oppressed….Men and women throughout the world crave for peace, they aspire to live in freedom and dignity”.

She also said, “We are preparing to celebrate the birth centenary of this great leader beginning in March 2020.”

Noting that the NAM principles reflect the basic aspirations of the commoners, the prime minister said, “However, the current global scenario presents formidable challenges to these aspirations. The contemporary global challenges call for renewed commitment by the international community to the principles of Bandung.”

She continued, “With the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, NAM principles are once again upheld at the UN. We should stand together in conforming to what we agreed in 2015 to ‘Reduce inequality within and among countries.”

Recalling Bangabandhu’s speech on implementation of the NAM principles in Algiers’ summit, the prime minister quoted Bangabandhu as saying: “For implementation of the principles of NAM, we need a total commitment on our part and readiness to sacrifice our narrow interests in order to attain what we regard to be a greater good of humanity”.

She stated: “Peace and security is an overriding concern for us. Prejudice, ignorance and vested interests stand in the way of world peace and harmony.”

Terming misunderstanding and cross-cultural ignorance are among the root causes of conflicts, the prime minister said, “In the age of globalization and digitalization, clashes among cultures, too, can have damaging impact on peace and security.”

Putting emphasis on the collective strive for peace, stability and harmony, she said, “We must remind ourselves that it took thousands of years of efforts to achieve contemporary values of modern civilization. —-We must move beyond minority-majority mindset.”

To this end, the prime minister said, “The Palestine question is one of the most difficult problems in recent history. Justice for the people of Palestine remains elusive due to lack of strong actions by the international community to ensure accountability of the Israeli occupation forces. Bangladesh firmly believes the illegal occupation must come to an end.”

Congratulating Azerbaijan for assuming the Chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement, the premier assured Bangladesh’s full support and cooperation to NAM’s new President Ilham Aliyev.

About the socio-economic progress of Bangladesh, she said, “In Bangladesh, we have been making unprecedented socio-economic progress. Our GDP growth has now reached 8.13%.”

The premier further said, “We are making continuous efforts in strengthening democracy and justice by empowering people, especially women. Our successes in poverty reduction, primary healthcare, women’s empowerment, gender equality and gender parity in education have been widely acclaimed by the international community.”

Describing Bangladesh as a country of religious harmony, she said that they have taken tough stance against terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and corruption.

“Our actions have restored peace and stability in the society,” the premier added.