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Visiting delegation of European Parliament made a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Ganobhaban on Monday, reports BSS.
Ryszard Czarnecki, Member of the European Parliament, led the nine member delegation while other members of the delegation include Elina Theocharous, Christelle Letard, Nikolay Barekov and member of Polish Parliament Agnieszka Scigaj.
PM’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim said the delegation discussed various issues relating to the upcoming national election, religious harmony, Rohingya issues as well as other socioeconomic matters with the prime minister.
The delegation was curious not only about the next election but also Bangladesh’s relation with the neighbouring countries, regional cooperation, Rohingya issue, social safety net programme and others, Karim said.
About the upcoming election, the Prime Minister said her government is determined to ensure free and fair election for all. There would be provisions for keeping transparent ballot boxes and a complete voter list with photographs to ensure transparent election, she said, adding.
“For a long time Bangladesh was ruled under martial law and we have restored democracy after a long struggle,” the prime minister said.
About the relation with neighbouring countries, the prime minister said, Bangladesh shares excellent friendly ties with all neighbouring countries including India and China.
The foreign policy of Bangladesh is guided by the principal initiated by Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman “friendship with all malice to none,” she said.
Bangladesh has achieved freedom from Pakistan, but we have diplomatic relation with them, Sheikh Hasina said adding that India and China are our development partners.
She highlighted her government’s initiative to sign agreement with India, Bhutan and Nepal for road communication and being associated with BCIM initiative to strengthen economic cooperation with neighbouring countries.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh has already resolved the disputes on maritime boundaries with India and Myanmar.
The premier appreciated the European Union for giving quota free excess to readymade garments of Bangladesh to the European market during her first tenure in the office. “Now Europe is the largest export market of Bangladesh and many European countries are also investing in Bangladesh,” she said.
As the European Parliament members wanted to know about the social safety net programme of Bangladesh the prime minister said the programme is covering about 1.4 million people of the country.
Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh is an abode of people of all religions and they are living here in peace and harmony while festivals of different faiths appear to be occasions of collective celebrations for all.
Sheikh Hasina said a section of vested quarter once tried to destroy the fabrics of religious harmony. But they could not do so as the government showed ‘zero tolerance’ to the vices.
About the Rohingya issue, the prime minister said though Bangladesh is a small land, the country gave shelter to more than one million refugees. The governments of Bangladesh and Myanmar are working for safe repatriation of the Rohingya refugees, she said, adding Myanmar has agreed to take back the refugees.
Sheikh Hasina said her government is pursuing a policy to enhance participation of women in politics, administration and other fields. Now women are taking part in every national and social activities including sports and showing their worthiness, she said.
Around 60 percent teachers of primary schools are recruited from women, she said adding that her government’s prime aim is to ensure a better life for the people to allow them live a happy life.
PM’s press secretary said the European Parliament members highly praised the Prime Minister for women empowerment in Bangladesh saying “You are an example of women empowerment.”
Dr Hasan Mahmud, MP, and PM’s principal secretary Nojibur Rahman were present.