Foreign Minister, A.H. Mahmood Ali. MP, arrived Paris on 21 June 2015 on a four-day official visit. The Foreign Minister began his official engagement yesterday with a meeting with Ms. Irina Bokova, Director General of UNESCO, at the UNESCO Headquarters.
During the meeting, the DG UNESCO expressed her satisfaction over the existing cooperation between Bangladesh and UNESCO. She appreciated the progress made by Bangladesh with regard to achieving gender parity in education and highly commended the political will and the policies of the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina with regard to women’s education. She reiterated her invitation to Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to address the high level conference titled ‘Leader’s Forum’ that will take place at UNESCO headquarters in November 2015.
During the meeting, Foreign Minister sought the DG ‘s support for capacity building in the area of blue economy and for the preservation, promotion and recognition of cultural heritage of Bangladesh in the global arena. She assured the Foreign Minister of all possible support from UNESCO in this regard.
She also informed the Foreign Minister about the progress of the establishment of International Mother Language Institute (IMLI) in Dhaka as a UNESCO category ll Centre. Foreign Minister later held a meeting with Ms. Elisabeth Guigou, President of Foreign Affairs Commission of French National Assembly, at the Assembly.
Ms. Odile Saugues, Vice President of the Commission and President of the France-Bangladesh Parliamentary Friendship Group briefed them about the zero tolerance policy of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina against all forms of terrorism and extremism. He referred to the message of the Prime Minister condemning the terrorist attack at the office of the news magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in January 2015.
The Foreign Minister also briefed them about the impressive economic growth of more than 6% achieved by Bangladesh over last six years and the initiatives taken by the government for the prospective rapid economic development of the country.
The Commission President enquired about the political situation in Bangladesh and the Foreign Minister gave an account of the terrorist activities of BNP-Jamaat alliance in 2013 and again earlier this year, causing loss of human lives and huge economic loss. He sought the French government’s continued support for further strengthening of the democratic system of Bangladesh and Bangladesh’s efforts towards accelerated economic development.
With regard to the CoP 21, Foreign Minister applauded France for hosting the Paris Climate Conference in December 2015 and conveyed Bangladesh’s support in reaching a universally accepted legally binding agreement. With regard to our national initiative for combating climate change as one of the most climate vulnerable countries, he informed that Bangladesh has created a national Fund of about $400 million from its own resources for adaptation and mitigation interventions.
He emphasized the importance of the exchange of Parliamentary groups for promoting better cooperation between Bangladesh and France and requested her to send a Parliamentary delegation to Bangladesh.
He also requested the Commission President to send a business delegation from MEDEF, the apex body of French business and industries to Bangladesh, which she assured him of pursuing with MEDEF. Foreign Minister also emphasized further consolidating the economic cooperation between the two countries by promoting joint ventures and enhancing transfer of technology.