France celebrates its National Day in commemoration of the storming of the Bastille in Paris on the 14th of July 1789. It remains the powerful symbol of the French revolutionary fight for emancipation from a then absolute monarchy, followed a few weeks later by the landmark proclamation of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”, opening the long and arduous way to the establishment of democracy and the rule of law.
Since the beginning of our shared history, France has been a committed partner in its relationship with Bangladesh. Our country has heard the voice of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman: in 1971, André Malraux relayed his call to support the freedom and independence fighters. Two years later, he was received with great honors in Dhaka by the President Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. A recent publication in France, “Malraux and Bangladesh” retraces in details this founding moment and the symbol of our friendship and this beautiful book is currently being translated into Bangla.
While Bangladesh is still facing the challenges of climate change, France commends the leading role of Bangladesh in the Climate Vulnerable Forum. France remains at the disposal of Bangladesh in this area as well as in the field of infrastructures, particularly transportation, access to clean water, energy and telecommunications.
This year a is great and special year as France and Bangladesh celebrated on 14th February 2022 the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationships between both countries. 2022 is a milestone in many ways for Franco-Bangladeshi cooperation as we are also celebrating the 30 years archeological cooperation and exploration of the large site of Mahasthangarh, north of Bogra. This archaeological cooperation is the longest standing cooperation between our two countries. With excavations being carried out jointly by French and Bangladeshi archaeologist this endeavours stands as a perfect symbol of our two country cooperating by sharing knowledge and resources to work together towards a common goal.
In the context of the Covid-19 pandemic, France did display vaccine solidarity, in particular within the framework of the Covax facility with the support of the vaccination program of the French Development Agency. The French Development Agency, who opened its Dhaka office in 2012 has since become a key player in development cooperation in Bangladesh with projects in many different areas such as energy, water, transportation, health and finance. On May 12th 2022, a Host Country Agreement between the Government of France and the Government of Bangladesh has been signed to legally seal the establishment of the AFD as a Development Partner of Bangladesh. On this occasion AFD renewed its commitment in supporting green and inclusive growth in Bangladesh.
We now have to keep working together to combine our strength in order to consolidate mutual economic and social benefits and to face the numerous challenges to come. Let me assure you that the French Embassy will continue to play an active role to further strengthen the friendly relations between our two countries.
Vive l’amitié entre la France et le Bangladesh –