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DHAKA: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has urged the ambassador and high commissioners working abroad to regard their job as a great assignment to protect the nation’s interest.
“Your service is not merely a job… Each of you is a small Bangladesh in that country where you are posted. So it’s something more great and eminent,” she said asking the envoys to work with utmost patriotism as they are representing a country which was liberated at the cost of huge sacrifice with a great dream.
The Prime Minister said this while inaugurating a three-day “Envoys Conference” at Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel here today.
It’s the first such conference of the ambassador, high Commissioners and permanent representatives of Bangladesh posted in different countries and global bodies. The conference has been organized aimed at revamping the future course of the country’s foreign policy against the backdrop of current global situation.
Foreign Minster A H Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam spoke, among others, on the occasion while Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque gave welcome address.
Cabinet members, PM’s advisors, parliament members, senior government officials and members of civil society were present.
Giving necessary directives to the envoys to promote the country’s interest and image abroad, the premier, specially, urged them to look into the matters of the expatriate workers so that they are not harassed.
“Expatriate workers supply a big chunk of the country’s foreign reserve which is used for paying your salaries and allowances. So, look to their matters from humanitarian point of view,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina also urged the envoys to take measures against anti-government campaign of the killers of Bangabandhu, war criminals and vested group abroad.
She said it was very unfortunate that the killers of Bangabandhu was awarded diplomatic job in different foreign missions. The government has tried the killers, but some absconding killers are still hatching conspiracy abroad along with the war criminals of 1971.
“You have to remain careful against their orchestrated propaganda,” she said asking the envoys to take steps for focusing the real picture of the country before the people of the countries where they’re serving, so that they cannot obstruct the country’s progress.
The Prime Minister also gave the envoys necessary directives to work actively and sincerely for giving attention on some issues for strengthening cooperation with foreign countries to attract investment, expansion of trade, strengthen regional and sub-regional cooperation, development of tourism, infrastructure development, build food and energy security, contain terrorism, cyber security and protect the country’s interest in the global discourses on climate change, migration and sustainable development.
Pointing out the agreement signed with Myanmar for repatriation of the Rohingyas, Sheikh Hasina said the consensus is at least a start of bilateral negotiation.
“There has been an international pressure on Myanmar, which undoubtedly is essential. However we could reach a bilateral agreement with the neighbouring country which would help send back the Mayanmar nationals to their country,” she hoped.
“Intrusion of huge number of women, children, older people from Myanmar is a big problem for us. But, as a neighbouring country we want to resolve the crisis keeping our relation good,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh has opened door for displaced people of Myanmar on humanitarian ground. And for this reason, all international community has stood beside Bangladesh, offering every support and assistance.
“In the past Bangladesh never got such overwhelming support from the international community on any issue which is the biggest diplomatic success of the country,” the premier said.
Sheikh Hasina asked the diplomats to share their experience on Rohingyas with the leaders of the countries where they are posted and remain active to resolve the crisis.
Terming the poverty as the common enemy of South Asian countries, the Prime Minister said good relation with neighbouring countries is important to alleviate poverty, put in place better communication system, exploit natural resources and overall development of the region.
She urged the envoys to explore the markets for Bangladeshi products and manpower abroad along with suggesting the government what kind of training is necessary to build up skilled manpower for a particular country.
Bangladesh is a small land with 160 million people. Overseas employment is very crucial for employment, food security, housing and healthcare services of the huge population, she said.
Sheikh Hasina said her government has opened 17 new missions abroad side by side with reopening the missions which were closed by BNP government during their last regime.
“Door with neighbours should not remain closed,” Sheikh Hasina adding Bangladesh would be benefitting from the good relation with neighbouring countries.
“Though the issue of Teesta water sharing remained unsettled with India, but good relation helped us to get additional electricity,” she said adding that discussion is also going on with Nepal and Bhutan for importing hydropower.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is making relentless efforts for
maintaining socioeconomic stability, infrastructural development, creating investment friendly atmosphere and attracting foreign investment.
Diplomats have to give more attention to the goals of the government, she said adding that diplomatic initiative should be taken to owe foreign investors. Diplomats have to projects tourists attractions of Bangladesh as the government is mulling earmarking ‘exclusive zone’ for foreigners.
Sheikh Hasina said, as far as foreign policy is concerned, her government believes in Bangabandhu’s motto- “Friendship with All, Malice to None”.
“Bangladesh wants to remain a pacifist nation. So, Bangladesh would not allow its land to be used for any subversive activities against any country, or as a route of smuggling arms, drugs or human trafficking,” she said.
Sheikh Hasina recalled the role of the envoys of Bangladesh in Kolkata, New Delhi, Washington, UK and many European countries who had acknowledged their loyalty to independent Bangladesh in 1971.
Bangladesh obtained recognition of a large number of foreign countries, UN and international organizations within a short period of independence which was rare diplomatic success of Bangabandhu government, she said.