British High Commissioner in Dhaka Alison Blake on Sunday highly appreciated Bangladesh’s achievements and “amazing” development stories saying the United Kingdom will remain a partner in Bangladesh’s development journey.
“I congratulated the Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) on Bangladesh’s achievements and the amazing development stories,” she told reporters after her meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The High Commissioner said she shared with the minister how her government was excited being able to work together to build stronger relationship with countries like Bangladesh.
The British High Commissioner also appreciated government’s fresh offer to have dialogue with political parties.
“I welcome very much the government’s attempt to establish a dialogue with all the political parties because Bangladesh has set a very ambitious target of a fully developed country status by 2041,” Blake said adding that there is enormous work before Bangladesh to achieve the goal.
The High Commissioner also said they talked about growing bilateral trade and governance issues. “We’re pleased that we’ll be a partner (of Bangladesh to help achieve its goals).”
“As Bangladesh achieves middle-income status and works towards the achievement of the SDGs, and as the UK leaves the EU, we’ll continue to support the aspirations of both of our citizens for a more stable, prosperous, and democratic future,” she said.
Blake said the UK will work with Bangladesh to counter terrorism, improve conditions of trade and they will continue to support Bangladesh’s RMG sector. “We’re working on that… we’ll continue to be good friends.”
The High Commissioner said they also talked about the things that they find difficult, particularly how both the countries can continue collaborating as Commonwealth countries. “We also talked little about rule of law and collaboration on the whole range of issues that unite both of our countries.”
The British diplomat said she was also able to recall the statement made by her minister after the December-30 national election in Bangladesh.
British Minister of State for Asia and the Pacific Mark Field, after the election, welcomed the participation of all opposition parties and said they will continue to support the people of Bangladesh in their aspirations for a more stable, prosperous, and democratic future.
“We’ve a broad and important partnership with Bangladesh, and a significant Bangladeshi diaspora in the UK,” said Mark Field.
Talking about some violence and credible reports of irregularities, High Commissioner Blake said, “We’re very much hopeful that these would be investigated.”
Asked whether they discussed the issue of convicted BNP acting chairman Tarique Rahman, she said, “We talked about the whole range of bilateral issues. It wouldn’t be right to go into the detail.”
Foreign Minister Dr Momen, however, said the government surely wants to bring back those people who are killers and convicted and living abroad.
High Commissioner Blake congratulated the Foreign Minister on his appointment and confirmed the strong and friendly relationship between the UK and Bangladesh.
They discussed how to further build on people-to-people links, and strengthen bilateral cooperation over a range of issues, including on democracy and governance, security, development, economic diplomacy, business climate and trade and investment, according to the British High Commission in Dhaka.
She praised Bangladesh’s continued support for the Rohingya refugees and discussed the UK’s continuing support for Bangladesh and for a sustainable solution that enables safe, voluntary and dignified returns to their homes.
They looked forward to the next meeting of the UK-Bangladesh Strategic Dialogue meeting in the Spring.
Dr Momen recalled the invaluable support of the British people and government during Bangladesh’s historic Liberation War in 1971 and urged the UK to continue the existing overall support after Brexit.
High Commissioner Blake praised the Bangladesh government led by the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for playing “amazing role” in the field of women empowerment, poverty reduction, economic and social development.
She said British investors are very interested to do business in diverse sectors in Bangladesh, infrastructure in particular.
Dr Momen thanked the UK for extending comprehensive support for the Rohingya crisis and urged the High Commissioner to do more so that the Rohingyas could go back to their ancestral homeland in safety and dignity.
The British High Commissioner praised Bangladesh highly for receiving the large number of Rohingya people and assured that British government and people will continue to extend all kinds of support to Bangladesh to resolve the crisis, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Both sides agreed to remain constructively engaged with the new government with a view to working together and collaborate on the issues of mutual interests like trade and investment, good governance, deeper economic partnership, Rohingya crisis, migration, climate change, and beyond.