Bangladesh, Sri Lanka want sustainable South Asia

Dhaka,  Sun,  20 August 2017
Published : 15 Jul 2017, 17:38:16
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Bangladesh, Sri Lanka want sustainable South Asia

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have underscored the need for a peaceful, stable, inclusive and sustainable South Asian region.

The two nation also agreed to work for shared prosperity through mutually beneficial win-win partnership.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to accelerate works in various sub-regional and regional cooperation mechanisms, and work towards focused and result-oriented regional economic cooperation in BIMSTEC and SAARC.

The two leaders have reaffirmed their common aspiration for peace, stability, harmony, prosperity and sustainable development of the region and beyond, according to a joint statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Dhaka on Saturday.

President Sirisena and Prime Minister Hasina reiterated that the Bangladesh – Sri Lanka relationship was anchored in commonalities of history, culture, language and shared values of pluralism, secularism, democracy and development.

Sheikh Hasina appreciated President Sirisena’s pro-people leadership, mutually beneficial neighbourhood policy, initiatives to develop infrastructure and the vision to accomplish equitable socio-economic development.

She applauded President Sirisena for the numerous steps taken by his government towards national unity, reconciliation and development.

President Sirisena applauded the socio-economic development in Bangladesh under the visionary leadership of Sheikh Hasina and lauded Bangladesh’s accomplishments in various areas, including food autarky, energy, agriculture, disaster management, women empowerment, climate change adaptation, infrastructure development and education.

He also commended Hasina’s global leadership in development and her contribution to promoting peace, security, stability and democracy in Bangladesh and beyond.

Recognising the threats arising out of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation on any religious or societal pretext, the leaders pledged to work together to counteract all such challenges in both countries and beyond.

In countering the challenges in the region and beyond, they agreed to work towards convening a broad-based dialogue on tolerance, inclusion and pluralism in 2018.

President Sirisena and Prime Minister Hasina welcomed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding on Economic Partnership between the two countries which should pave way for conclusion of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) by end-2017.

Acknowledging that trade between the two countries is far below the potential, the two leaders agreed that in case of the economically meaningful exportables, tariff should be further lowered and non-tariff barriers addressed expeditiously.

Mentioning the potential of mutually beneficial collaboration in Pharmaceutical sector, Bangladesh requested Sri Lanka to simplify the registration process for Bangladeshi pharmaceuticals at the earliest.

Recognising the potential for cooperation in maritime affairs and blue economy between the two countries, the two leaders agreed to work together to explore new areas and innovative means to tap opportunities in developing the Bay of Bengal into a region of peace, growth and prosperity.

They emphasised completing the ongoing negotiations on the Agreement on Coastal Shipping early.

They further agreed to share respective knowledge, ideas, innovation to effectively realise the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development and the SDGs.

The two leaders expressed their deep satisfaction at the signing of 14 instruments of cooperation, including in trade and investment, agriculture, information and communication technology, higher education, finance, and overall people-to-people connectivity.    

President Sirisena appreciated the warm hospitality and courtesies extended to him and his delegation by the government and the people of Bangladesh during the visit and extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to visit Sri Lanka at a mutually convenient time in 2018.

At the invitation of Sheikh Hasina, Sirisena paid the three-day State visit to Bangladesh.

A Sri Lankan Airlines flight took off from Shahjalal Airport at 1:00 pm carrying the Lankan President.
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Editor : A.H.M Moazzem Hossain
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