“Our nations are blessed with vast human and natural resources. What we need is to develop workable political, economic and social-cultural programmes to realise our full potential,” said Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh while speaking at the Ministerial Meeting of the 60th anniversary of the Asian- African Conference (Bandung Conference 1955) in Jakarta today.
The Minister underscored the importance of a truly interdependent and mutually supportive South-South cooperation in line with the Bandung Spirit. He praised the significant strides that have been made by both Asia and Africa in terms of promoting respect for human rights, rule of law and democracy, improving the status of women, and working towards equality and non-discrimination.
At the same time, he underlined some of the daunting challenges before the two continents, including poverty, communicable diseases, climate change, natural disasters, digital divide, inequitable market access, declining ODA and increasing foreign debt that need to be addressed through concerted effort and effective coordination.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister reaffirmed Bangladesh’s steadfast support to the Palestinian people and to the creation of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions. At this point, he reiterated the fundamental undertaking of the Bandung to support any just struggle against colonialism and foreign occupation.
The Minister further stressed the need for meaningfully addressing the long-standing resource and capacity constraints of the developing countries, LDCs in particular, during the formulation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). He also emphasized on the necessity of modelling a robust and broad-based global partnership in light of the principles of mutual trust and respect, common but differentiated responsibility.
The Ministerial Meeting has gathered 35 Ministers from the countries of Asia and Africa. The Foreign Secretary, Bangladesh Ambassador to Indonesia and Director General (United Nations), Ministry of Foreign Affairs accompanied the Foreign Minister at the Meeting. The Foreign Minister also had bilateral meetings with his counterparts from Myanmar, Libya and Gambia on the sidelines of the Ministerial Meeting.
Today’s Ministerial Meeting was preceded by the Senior Official Meeting held on 19 April 2015 where the Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque attended. The Conference would continue with the Meeting of Heads of State/ Government on 22-23 April 2015. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is expected to lead the Bangladesh delegation at this Meeting.