Ambassador H.E. Ms. Marie-Annick Bourdin
[My fellow Cabinet Members and Members of Parliament]
Distinguished guests from Media, Civil Society, and Business Community
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good evening [bon soir – in French]!
It is a great pleasure for me to join you all in the celebration of the National Day of the French Republic. The national day of France is a source of inspiration for the freedom loving people around the world.
On this auspicious occasion, on behalf of the Government and the people of Bangladesh and on my own behalf, I convey to the friendly Government and the people of France our heartfelt greetings and warmest felicitations!
The time tested friendship between our two countries is always of great importance and value to us. The invisible thread of amity has bound us predating the birth of Bangladesh. When we fought for the independence under the leadership of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the spirit of equality and liberty of the great French Revolution gave us strength and inspiration. We recall with deep gratitude the support of the French people, particularly globally acclaimed French intellectual Andre Malreau who paid a visit to Bangladesh in April 1973 to extend support to Bangabandhu’s efforts to rebuild the war-ravaged country. Ever since, the multi-dimensional nature of our bilateral relations was founded on a strong base of friendship, understanding and cooperation between the peoples of the two countries.
Bangladesh as a responsive and responsible state, under the dynamic leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, gave shelter to more than one million Rohingya population who fled violence and atrocities in the Northern Rakhine State of Myanmar. We appreciate the strong support, – both humanitarian and political, extended by the French Government in response to the Rohingya crisis. We also appreciate the role played by French President Emmanuel Macron, personally and his Government collectively through the European Union and the United Nations Security Council to find a sustainable solution to the Rohingya crisis in Myanmar. We urge the international community to continue to step up pressure on Myanmar authorities so that the Rohingyas can return to their ancestral homes in Myanmar in safety, dignity and sustainable livelihood.
At present, the growing interaction between the political leaders, businessmen, entrepreneurs, scholars, artists and researchers are well marked. In this regard, I recall with deep satisfaction the bilateral meeting between Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Emmanuel Macron that took place at the Elysee Palace in December 2017, when she visited France to attend the “One Planet Summit”. Our two leaders’ meeting provided us with the much needed momentum to chart a roadmap for future direction of our ever growing bilateral relations. Hon’ble President of Bangladesh joined President Macron and Prime Minister Modi in New Delhi in March 2018 at the 1st International Solar Alliance Summit, giving further impetus to our mutual understanding for implementation of the Paris Climate Agreement.
Bilateral trade between our two countries experienced a steady growth in the last decade and crossed two billion dollar mark last year. I am happy that many French multinational-companies are engaged in Bangladesh. French Company “Lafarge-Surma” is having one of the largest FDI in Bangladesh. Another French company Thales Alenia Space has built the Bangladesh's first satellite, “Bangabandhu Satellite-1” that was launched in April 2018. The ongoing cooperation with Technip for the refurbishment and expansion of Eastern Refinery in Chittagong and the contribution of AFD (French Development Agency) in the infrastructure development is worth mentioning.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the last decade, under the able-guidance and pragmatic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh has achieved steady economic growth and accomplished sustained progress in socio-economic development. Attained almost all the MDGs and on track for graduation from the LDC to become a Middle Income Country. Under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is now marching towards the materialisation of Vision 2021, a roadmap to convert it in to a middle income country by 2021 and Vision 2041, a road map to turn Bangladesh into a developed country by 2041. In this endevour, the support from the international community, particularly from France, as an old and time tested friend, has always been a major strength Bangladesh and her people.
We are confident that the Election Commission, with the support of all the political parties, administration and other stakeholders, will be able to hold inclusive, fair and neutral general elections by the end of 2018.
Human Rights Situation in Bangladesh
Bangladesh considers all human rights as universal, indivisible, interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing. The fundamental rights envisaged in the constitution of Bangladesh reflect many of the human rights prescribed by international human rights law. Bangladesh is a country with rich ethnic, religious and cultural diversity. Bangladesh encourages the contribution of civil society and NGOs in national socio-economic development as well as in the promotion and protection of human rights initiatives. [Note: Currently 3,075 (local 2,777 and international 298) NGOs registered with the NGO Affairs Bureau are working in Bangladesh].
I am confident; the diversity and depth of our relations will continue to rise and widen, bringing tangible outcome and mutual benefits for our two peoples.
In closing, I would like to conclude wishing the continued happiness and well-being of the friendly people of the French Republic and everlasting friendship and good relations between France and Bangladesh.
Long live Bangladesh-France friendship!
I thank you all.
Joy Bangla, Joy Banga Bandhu