Foreign Minister Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen emphasised on collective efforts by the ASEAN leaders in tackling challenges faced by ASEAN region while delivering a speech on Friday at the 28th Meeting of ASEAN Regional Forum.
The meeting held virtually from Brunei Darussalam under the theme “We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper”, the foreign ministry said.
During his remarks, Dr Momen assured of Bangladesh’s continuous support to the ARF initiatives.
He appraised the forum how Bangladesh is playing role in dealing with climate challenges. He called for united action by the leaders to accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement to advance global climate progress.
Dr Momen and other Foreign Ministers had a substantive exchange of views on possible areas of collaboration and cooperation i.e. Rohingya refugee crisis, climate change, nuclear proliferation, cyber security and other regional issues.
He expressed hope that under the dynamic leadership of ARF, the developing countries of this region would come forward with good governance and stronger economy.
While presenting an overview of Bangladesh’s role in tackling Covid-19, he emphasised on vaccines to be a public good and its technology should be shared and available to all countries to produce it at an affordable price.
Dr. Momen raised that although Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention nor its 1967 Protocol still Bangladesh is providing shelter to the 1.1 million Rohingya refugees considering humanitarian ground only. Sacrificing 6800 acres of her sovereign forest land Bangladesh is not in a position to shoulder the burden for an indefinite period, he added.
The Foreign Minister sought support in solving the Rohingya crisis to minimise the impact on climate in this region. ARF Member States including Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Singapore, USA and the European Union agreed on solving Rohingya issue as soon as possible. They urged upon safe, sustainable and dignified repatriation of Rohingyas to their homeland.
While delivering speech, he marked disarmament as a hallmark of Bangladesh’s peace-centric foreign policy. Mandated by constitutional obligation of seeking complete disarmament as well as settling disputes through peaceful means, Bangladesh has always intentionally restrained from arms race and armament, he mentioned.
Since becoming a member of the UN, Bangladesh has always been playing an active role in UN’s disarmament diplomacy. As a member of the UN Security Council for two terms during 1979-1980 and 2000-2001, Bangladesh was particularly active and visible in international disarmament efforts, reaffirming its strong commitment to the adherence of international disarmament norms, treaties and instruments, he added.
ASEAN is a multilateral regional platform that aspires to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and promote regional peace and stability through abiding respect for justice and the rule of law in the relationship among countries.
Dr. Momen led Bangladesh delegation to the 28th ARF Meeting. The virtual meeting hosted by Negara Brunei Darussalam, the current Chair of the ARF. Foreign Ministers, Deputy Foreign Ministers and other delegates of the 26 ARF Member States participated in today’s meeting. The Meeting was chaired by Foreign Minister of Brunei Dato Erywan Pehin Yousof.