General

DhakaHelsinki to work together on climate change issue

HELSINKI, Finland, Bangladesh and Finland today agreed to work together on the issue of climate change as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Finland President Sauli Niinisto held a meeting here.

At the meeting, the prime minister also sought strong support from the European Union for safe and dignified repatriation of the 11 lakh Rohingya people from Bangladesh.

Prime Minister's Speech Writer (Secretary) Md Nazrul Islam briefed reporters after the meeting held at the President's official residence here.

The prime minister said one third of Bangladesh will be submerged if the sea level rises one meter and noted her government's initiatives to mitigate climate change consequences.

In this regard, she mentioned formation of Bangladesh Climate Resilience Fund with own resources to face the climate change impacts.

Sheikh Hasina informed the President about her government's various measures including creation of green belt along the coast of Bay of Bengal and formation of volunteers to offset the impact of natural disasters like cyclone and tidal surge.

The Finnish President expressed concern that Bangladesh will be badly affected if the sea level rises due to climate change.

He emphasized strengthening of global warning system to reduce losses from the natural calamities especially tidal surge.

Regarding the Rohingya issue, Sheikh Hasina pointed out that Bangladesh is a highly densely populated country and it is very tough to give shelter to the vast number of Rohinyga people.

The prime minister expressed concern that Myanmar did not keep its promise of taking back the Rohingya people even after signing agreements to this end.

Responding to a question from the Finnish President, she said relations with Myanmar did not deteriorate even after forcefully eviction of 1.1m Rohingya people by Myanmar authorities.

She said Bangladesh pursues the foreign policy of Friendship to all, malice to none and Bangladesh maintains very good relations with its neighbours.

The premier narrated different development indices including 8.13 percent GDP growth this year and urged investors of Finland to invest in Bangladesh.

Noting that her government is setting up 100 special economic zones, Sheikh Hasina said the Finnish investor could have a special economic zone if they want.

She lauded Finland for recognising Bangladesh immediately after the liberation war in 1971.

We always value the support and cooperation that Finland extended to Bangladesh during and after the liberation war of the country, the premier said.

The prime minister narrated how Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman struggled lifelong and subjected to incarceration for the emancipation of people and independence of the country.

Responding to a query of the President, Sheikh Hasina recollected her own struggle after the assassination of the Father of the Nation along with most of his family members.

She said she returned home with the people's support in 1981 and it was the people who voted her four times as the prime minister of Bangladesh.

The Finnish president lauded Sheikh Hasina for the economic uplift of Bangladesh under her leadership.

The prime minister invited the Finnish President to visit Bangladesh at his convenient time and sought Finland support in electing Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque as the Deputy Director General of IOM.

At the beginning of the meeting, both the prime minister and the president exchanged greetings.

The President received Sheikh Hasina at his residence on her arrival.

The prime minister signed the visitors' book, the PM's speech writer said.

Sheikh Hasina arrived here on Monday afternoon for a fiveday official visit to Finland.

Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)