Dhaka, Mar 3 : Two milestone events of Bangladesh, namely the 100th Birth Anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the 50th Anniversary of the glorious Independence of Bangladesh will be celebrated in Oslo, Norway early next year. This was decided as Bangladesh and Norway held the 2nd Political Consultations between them this morning at State Guest House Padma. Bangladesh was represented by Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen, while Secretary General of Norwegian Foreign Ministry Tore Hattrem represented Norway in the consultations.
Following the signing of the Protocol on Consultations between the Foreign Offices of the two countries in February 2010, the 1st such Consultations took place in Oslo on 28 June 2018. Recalling Norway´s early recognition of the independence of Bangladesh on February 4, 1972 and the country’s long-standing support to Bangladesh’s development by the Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh set the tone for the deliberations between the two sides in the Consultations that covered the entire gamut of Bangladesh-Norway bilateral relations.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen elaborated on the year-long celebrations of the 100th Birth Anniversary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, commencing on 17 March 2020. The Norwegian Secretary General wished success to the celebrations of Mujib Borsho and both sides remembered the sacrifice and leadership of Father of the Nation for the emancipation of mankind and praised his contribution to upholding international peace and security. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to work together on achieving ocean-related targets including fighting marine litter and to collaborate in maritime sector through sustainable development of ocean resources, while significantly reducing environmental risks and ecological scarcities. Bangladesh proposed an MoU on cooperation in the blue economy sector and shared a draft with the Norwegian side in this regard. Recognising the key role of economic cooperation, trade and investment in strengthening bilateral relations, the two delegations agreed that there was ample room for further increase in bilateral trade and investment.
They encouraged enhanced trade flows in both directions. The issue of Telenor/ Grameen phone, where Norwegian government has a substantial share, came up for discussion and both sides took note of Bangladesh Supreme Court’s recent ruling/order on this issue.
Both sides look forward to a peaceful settlement of the issue. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary appreciated Norwegian Government for extending duty-free and quota-free access of Bangladeshi products under Norwegian GSP since 1 st July 2002 and requested to continue the same even after Bangladesh’s graduation out of LDCs group in 2024.
Both sides agreed to work on cooperation in the field of skill development entailing development of human resources, at various levels, with various modalities – as also mutually beneficial and result-oriented, in view of Bangladesh’s graduation, rapid automation, among others, in textile sector and disruptive technologies and trends thanks to Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) and Artificial Intelligence (AI). Rohingya crisis was high on the agenda. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary briefed his Norwegian counterpart about the state of play, particularly in the context of International Court of Justice (ICJ)’s order of 23rd January 2020 to ensure accountability for atrocities perpetrated on Rohingyas. Bangladesh side appreciated Norway’s political and financial support to the cause of the Rohingyas. Secretary General Hattrem reiterated Norway’s appreciation for Bangladesh’s continued generosity in hosting the Rohingyas.
Bangladesh requested for continued and intensified support of Norway to ensure safe, dignified and sustainable return of the forcibly displaced Rohingyas. Norway reiterated its support for Annan Commission’s recommendations and ICJ’s provisional measures and called for their full implementation by Myanmar. Norway, currently running for a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council, vowed to intensify its efforts at the UN to resolve the crisis, if elected. The two sides affirmed their strong commitment to the implementation of the “2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development” including Sustainable Development Goals – SDGs.
Further deepening of cooperation between the two countries at the United Nations and other international fora was also agreed upon. Among other multilateral issues, peace building, peacekeeping, terrorism, violent extremism and xenophobia figured prominently in the discussions. They also exchanged views on evolving contemporary geopolitical issues, including Brexit. Both countries affirmed their support for Global Compact on Migration and efforts to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration.
They also expressed satisfaction with the smooth implementation of Norway-Bangladesh Standard Operating Procedures for Identification and Return of Persons without an Authorisation to Stay which was signed in June 2018. Bangladesh Ambassador to Norway (with residence in Stockholm) Md Nazmul Islam, Director General (West Europe and the EU) of Ministry of Foreign Affairs Andalib Elias and BTRC’s Vice Chairman Subrata Roy Maitra, among others, joined Foreign Secretary Momen on Bangladesh side. Norwegian Ambassador in Bangladesh SidselBleken also participated in the consultations. The 3rd Bangladesh-Norway Political Consultations will take place in Oslo, Norway at a mutually convenient date. (UNI)