Dhaka, Paris to float joint commission to boost economic ties

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Desk report, December 13: Dhaka and Paris yesterday agreed to constitute a joint commission to explore the opportunities of cooperation in the fields of trade and economy and other priority areas, reports BSS.

The decision was taken in the bilateral meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at Elysee Palace here.

Briefing reporters after the meeting, Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Huq said the two leaders in a very cordial and warm atmosphere discussed the bilateral and global issues of mutual interests.

“Five issues were discussed in the meeting including the most important one of climate change as the Prime Minister arrived here to join a climate related event,” the Foreign Secretary said.

The Rohingya issues as well as Bangladesh’s constant stride in combating terrorism also came up in the discussion of the two leaders.

“People of Bangladesh have a very enthusiasm and warmth about your leadership,” the Bangladesh premier told the French President.

In this regard, the Prime Minister recalled the support of the French government and people in Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971, particularly the role of French novelist Andre Malraux in support of Bangladesh’s freedom.

Shahidul Huq said the modalities of formation of the Joint Commission would be ascertained later. The French president welcomed the Prime Minister’s meeting with French top businesspersons tomorrow on business opportunities.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina invited the France President to visit Bangladesh at his convenient time. The president accepted the invitation and hoped to visit at the beginning of the next year during his South Asia tour.

The Foreign Secretary said President Macron showed his interest in extending support to the priority areas of Bangladesh where investors and businessmen would have more scope to be engaged.

In response, the Prime Minister said her government has been giving importance to cooperation in energy, infrastructure, pharmasecuticals, ICT and Special Economic Zones and strong regional cooperation.

The Prime Minister arrived in Paris yesterday to attend the One Planet Summit, an alliance of global leaders from all sectors for accelerating the collective actions against climate change.

The French president showing immense gesture received the Bangladesh Prime Minister at the portico of the Elysee Palace as she alighted from her motorcar. The prime minister was given a static guard of honour at that time.

The president also proceeded to her car to bid farewell to the Bangladesh prime Minister which was very warm gesture and respect on part the French president to Bangladesh Prime Minister, the foreign secretary said.

Sheikh Hasina extended her thanks to the French President for taking the initiative of calling the Summit amidst a frustration and leadership vacuum after two years of the Paris Climate Change Agreement and subsequent pull out of the US from the global pact.

The Prime Minister recalled the French President’s initiative of convening a meeting on Global Pact for Environment on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly this year in New York, where she was also invited.

“I want to see your leadership and we want to see that it’s about action, which is to be taken together as the conference has been convened for taking action to address the climate change,” Sheikh Hasina told Macron.

The prime minister in the meeting highlighted the looming threats of climate change on Bangladesh saying her government has created a resilience fund with its own fund and taken a number of steps as well to address the situation.

They also discussed the cooperation in the area of energy security and solar energy, the foreign secretary said.

As the French president wanted to know the latest situation of Rohingyas and Bangladesh’s expectation from France on the issue, the Prime Minister said about one million forcibly displaced Myanmar citizens have intruded into Bangladesh, creating enormous problem in all respects as well as a climate disaster.

Sheikh Hasina reiterated her five-point proposal which was placed in the UNGA in September last saying the Rohingya problem can be resolved in the ways she showed in the UN.

Pointing out the bilateral agreement signed between Bangladesh and Myanmar to send back the Myanmar nationals, Sheikh Hasina said, “But we want continued community support and global pressure to resolve the crisis.”

“Without global support, the bilateral agreement would be impossible to execute,” she noted.

The French President assured the Prime Minister of their continued humanitarian support and playing a role in all global bodies for permanent solution of the problem.

The premier reiterated her government’s zero tolerance policy saying Bangladesh has been making constant efforts to combat terrorism successfully as it has turned into a global phenomenon.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, senior secretary of the PMO Suriya Begum and Bangladesh Ambassador to France Kazi Imtiaz Hossain were present in the meeting.