The Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) was held virtually yesterday. Foreign Minister Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen led Bangladesh delegation to the CICA Special Foreign Ministers’ Meeting.
The Director General (Regional Organizations) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka facilitated the participation of the Foreign Minister in the Meeting virtually hosted by the Republic of Kazakhstan, the current and new Chair of the CICA. The Meeting was participated by the Foreign Ministers and other delegates of the 27CICA Member States, 08 observer states, and representatives from 05 observer organizations, and 05 partner organizations. The Meeting was chaired by Mukhtar Tleuberdi, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan.
The virtual Ministerial Meeting was held mainly in order to proceed with the assumption of CICA Chairmanship by the Republic of Kazakhstan from the Republic of Tajikistan which assumed the responsibility of CICA Chairmanship on 24 September 2018 for the period of 2018-2020.
The virtual Meeting started off with the opening remarks by Sirodjidin Aslov. The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Tajikistan. the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kazakhstan, apart from chairing the session, presented Kazakhstan’s vision on the CICA Chairmanship. The Hon’ble Foreign Minister, Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, joined all other Foreign Ministers in welcoming the new Executive Director of the CICA Secretariat, Kairat Sarybay.
Hailing Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the Father of the Nation as the greatest Bengali of all times, the Hon’ble Foreign Minister Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen told the forum that the year 2020 marked the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. He appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her wise and timely decision to virtually organize the events of significant socio-cultural and developmental importance, planned for observing the year, which irrefutably helped contain the further spread of the Covid-19. The Hon’ble Foreign Minister expressed his previous apprehension about the possible deadly effect of Covid-19 on 1.1 million Rohingyas, the forcibly displaced people of Myanmar, who actually got minimally affected, he told, due to multiple targeted initiatives taken by the government.
Dr. Momen emphatically conveyed that despite having to compromise on safety, security and economic, ecological, and societal advancement, it is only on the humanitarian ground that Bangladesh offered refuge to nearly 1.1 million forcibly displaced people of Myanmar, their homeland. He expressed loss of hopes while talking about the perpetuation of the reprehensible actions of Myanmar government in Rakhine State, inimical to the interests of Bangladesh and the impoverished Rohingyas. He stressed further that the Rohingya problem is and needs to be solved by Myanmar and Myanmar only. He also suggested Myanmar to welcome the international community to visit Myanmar to ensure the Rohingyas of their safety and security, upon their return to their homeland, Myanmar.
The Foreign Minister quite pertinently underscored the need to move ahead with the spirit fueled by our common apprehension and the desire for a common solution to the unprecedented challenges posed by an invisible enemy called ‘Covid-19’ that defies frontier, and is upending the stability of the entire world and humanity in a way hardly seen before. He mentioned, “The COVID-19 outbreak is first and foremost a public health crisis. This comes with its multifaceted impacts on our lives, including severe disruptions to societies and economies. The crisis, however, has manifested devastating but differentiated impacts on segments of the population, as it would hit hardest the disadvantaged and vulnerable groups.”The Hon’ble Foreign Minister also appreciated the prudent, dynamic and determined leadership of the Hon’ble Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina who announced and assured the largest ever financial and social safety assistance package in Bangladesh’s history covering our industrial workers, agriculture sector as well as frontline key workers including doctors, nurses, health professionals, law enforcement agencies and field level people who are risking their lives to fight the pandemic. “This is not only for maintaining our own macroeconomic stability – but also that the global supply chain does not break down”, the Hon’ble Foreign Minister expressed.
Dr. Momen further highlighted the promising aspects of Bangladesh’s economic growth trajectory even against the aggression of Covid-19. He informed that Bangladesh is one of only two Asian economies to have registered positive growth in 2020. Contrary to the predictions of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the Asian Development Bank, Bangladesh Economy grew; he proudly asserted, 5.24 percent in the fiscal year that concluded on 30 June 2020.