The United Kingdom (UK) has reiterated that it will continue to play a leadership role in UN Security Council and bilaterally with Bangladesh in ensuring prevention of human rights violations and alleged ‘genocide’ of Rohingyas in Myanmar.
Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific at UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Mark Field conveyed it while receiving newly-appointed Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem at his FCO office in London recently, said the High Commission on Friday.
I received the new Bangladesh High Commissioner Tasneem to London yesterday. We had a useful discussion about the Bangladesh election, Rohingya crisis, and bilateral relations. @foreignoffice @UKinBangladesh pic.twitter.com/fSixzbJbfb
— Mark Field MP (@MarkFieldUK) January 11, 2019
Reiterating UK’s deep appreciation for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s humanitarian support to nearly 1.1 million Rohingya minority from Myanmar, the UK Minister underlined the need for ‘their voluntary, dignified, viable and sustainable return’ to Myanmar through involvement of UN agencies.
High Commissioner Tasneem reassured the UK, that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her new term would continue to uphold the ‘principles of non-refoulement’ and ‘humanitarianism’ and ensure a voluntary, safe and sustainable return of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals that fled to Bangladesh to escape persecutions in Myanmar.
The UK Minister also commended Bangladesh for its leadership role in UN Peacekeeping and recognized the sacrifice made by fallen peacekeepers from Bangladesh for global peace.
“UK attaches high importance to Bangladesh and a major focus of UK’s relations with Bangladesh in the coming days will be to strengthen trade, economic and security cooperation”, said Minister Field.
Recalling his earlier visits to Bangladesh, Minister Field reaffirmed his personal commitment to further deepen UK-Bangladesh ties especially given his longstanding engagements with the UK All Party Parliamentary Group on Bangladesh and the British-Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK.
Commending Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for including a younger generation of politicians in her new Cabinet following the December-30 general elections, the Minister also hoped to see Bangladesh move forward towards greater growth and prosperity.
Bangladesh’s new High Commissioner Tasneem renewed the commitment of the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in its newly elected term to take Bangladesh-UK relations to a fresh new level of strategic and economic partnership and expressed her own resolve to unfold new areas of mutually beneficial cooperation in Bangladesh-UK relations.
She also briefed Minister Field that a major focus of her tenure in the UK would be to increase and diversify Bangladesh’s bilateral trade with the UK, attract greater British investments in mega-infrastructure projects, energy, IT and services sectors in Bangladesh, and enhance strategic level cooperation including in defence, security and regional connectivity.
The High Commissioner also put forward a number of proposals towards creating a strong and vibrant culture and sports connectivity between the two Commonwealth nations especially through cricket, football, curry industry and the talented new generations of the British-Bangladeshi community in the UK.
Minister Field too lauded the extraordinary educational achievements of successive generations of British-Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK, including those from his own constituency.
The High Commissioner also discussed with Minister Field a proposal for celebrating 50 years of Bangladesh-UK relations in 2021 which was hallmarked by the warm welcoming of the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by the-then British Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath during Bangabandhu’s historic homecoming to Dhaka en route London in January 1972.
Senior officials of Bangladesh High Commission in London including Defence Attache Brigadier General AKM Aminul Haque, Commercial Counsellour SM Jakaria Huq and First Secretary Md Shafiul Alam were present at the meeting.