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Momen urges UK to remove Bangladesh from Covid red-list

Industry Desk: Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen, who is nowin Europe, in a bilateral meeting with his British counterpart Dominic Raabon Monday called upon the UK to review the red-listing travel restrictions onBangladesh for Covid-19.
“Given Bangladesh’s robust vaccine roll-out and significant reductions incovid infection to 9.82% and sufferings of more than 7000 British-Bangladeshis currently stranded in Bangladesh, the UK should considerremoving Bangladesh from the covid red-list countries,” he said at themeeting held virtually.
In reply, Raab assured that the UK would review the matter and hisgovernment is well aware of decreasing covid infections in Bangladesh, apress release said yesterday.
“I would like to assure that given the long-standing friendship between ourtwo countries, and based on more frequent genomic sequencing data-uploadingby Bangladesh, the British Government will review Bangladesh red list,”British foreign secretary of state said.
However, he said, such decisions are reviewed by the Public Health Expertson a regular basis. During their first official
bilateral meeting, the two foreign ministersreaffirmed the historic and value-based relations between Bangladesh and theUK since Bangladesh’s Liberation War in 1971.
They agreed to jointly celebrate the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-UKdiplomatic relations through exchange of high-level visits and charting anambitious and ever-expanding Bangladesh-UK post-Brexit strategic partnership.
Discussing the protracted Rohingya crisis and stalemate in the process ofsafe and sustainable returns, Momen gave historic references to earlierretaliations of Rohingyas by Myanmar.
He also requested the British minister to exert pressure on Myanmar forimmediate repatriation of their Rohingyas from Bangladesh.
Mentioning the concern of the British Government on the current politicalturmoil in Myanmar, Raab reiterated UK’s continued commitment to resolvingthe Rohingya crisis.
He also said that, together with the ASEAN and fellow G7 countries, UKwould put increased pressure on Myanmar for a sustainable resolution of theRohingya crisis.
Both the ministers expressed deep concern about the current Afghansituation and agreed to work closely to restore regional peace, security andstability.
Dr Momen said that Bangladesh remains deeply committed to maintainingregional peace and security and would continue to stand next to the people ofAfghanistan whose voice should be heard for a sustainable future of theircountry.
On post-Brexit trade relations with the UK, one of the Bangladesh’s largesttrade and investment partners, Momen sought an extension of the UK’s zero-duty GSP facility until 2029, specially given the losses suffered byBangladesh apparel industry owing to post-pandemic cancellations and non-payments by UK retailers.
Citing countries which have already taken dedicated SEZs in Bangladesh,including Saudi Arabia, Japan, India, China and South Korea, Bangladeshforeign minister offered a dedicated SEZ for British investors.
He invited fresh investments in the IT and green RMG and apparel industry,as well as offshore solar and wind power plants, electric vehicles andbatteries, electric public transport and railway sectors.
On climate change, Dr. Momen recalled his recent meeting with COP26President Alok Sharma and reiterated Bangladesh’s request as the CVFPresident for participation of Prime Minister Boris Johnson at the CVF-COP26Leaders Dialogue during the COP26 Leaders Summit in Glasgow.
He also briefed Raab on Bangladesh and CVF’s priorities and expectations atthe COP26 and praised UK leadership for duly addressing the important issueof loss and damage at Glasgow.
Commending Bangladesh as a climate leader and its proactive CVF Presidencyrole, the British foreign minister called upon Bangladesh to declare a net-zero by 2050 and a transition to clean energy.
Momen also urged immediate transfer of appropriate technologies, largeinvestments and financing from developed countries, especially the UK, forBangladesh’s transition to a low carbon economy by 2050.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem joined themeeting.

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