Bangladesh & Netherlands enjoy the closest of bilateral ties

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“Bangladesh and the Netherlands enjoy the closest of bilateral ties, and there is a huge amount of interest among the Dutch about Bangladesh due to the commonalities of challenges we face with flood control and water management,” said Mr. Frans Timmermans, Foreign Minister of the Netherlands during a bilateral meeting with the Bangladesh Foreign Minister Mr. A. H. Mahmood Ali, MP at the former’s office here today.

The Dutch Foreign Minister said that, as an expert in water management, His Majesty the King of the Netherlands took keen interest in Bangladesh’s work with flood control and climate change adaptation. Mr. Timmermans expressed the Dutch Government’s continued interest in working with Bangladesh to address the growing challenges posed by climate change.

The Bangladesh Foreign Minister appreciated the Dutch development cooperation projects targeted at water management, agricultural productivity and income generation in char areas. He also thanked the Dutch Government for its contribution to ILO’s Better Work Programme being implemented to improve working conditions in Bangladesh’s RMG sector.

The two Ministers agreed to explore the possibility of institutionalizing a regular mechanism of bilateral Foreign Office consultations. The Bangladesh Foreign Minister thanked the Netherlands Government for the excellent training opportunities offered to young diplomats from Bangladesh, and requested his Dutch counterpart to extend the current programme by another five years. The two sides also exchanged views on extending reciprocal facilities and services to each other’s Missions in the two capitals.

The Bangladesh Foreign Minister invited His Majesty the King of the Netherlands to visit Bangladesh at a mutually convenient time. The Dutch Foreign Minister also readily accepted the invitation for him to visit Bangladesh in the near future.

Foreign Minister Ali is currently on a visit to the Hague to attend the high-level segment of the Global Oceans Action Summit for Food Security and Blue Growth being jointly organised by the Netherlands Government, FAO and the World Bank.

Earlier, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister met with Judge Sang-Hyun Song, President of the International Criminal Court (ICC) based in the Hague. The ICC President observed that Bangladesh’s decision to ratify the Rome Statute in 2010 had been highly significant, especially since the Asia Pacific region still remained the least represented among the State Parties to the instrument.

Foreign Minister Ali assured the ICC President that Bangladesh would continue to work towards promoting universal ratification of the Rome Statute. They discussed further possible work by Bangladesh to develop the enabling national legislation in pursuance of the Rome Statute. The two sides also reflected on the principle of complementarity between the Rome Statute and the International Crimes Tribunal Act, 1973 of Bangladesh.

The ICC authorities lauded the role of Bangladeshi peacekeepers deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo to facilitate the visit of Judge Song to some villages in the eastern part of the country. The ICC offered to further cooperate with Bangladesh in strengthening the victim and witness protection regime. The Bangladesh Foreign Minister invited ICC to attend a National Workshop to be organised on this subject in Dhaka soon.

The Ambassador of Bangladesh to the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal was present during the meetings.

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