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Thursday, October 23, 2014, Kartik 8, 1421, Zilhajj 27, 1435 Hijr

Italy tour very successful and fruitful, says PM
Observer Online Desk
Publish Date : 2014-10-23,  Publish Time : 22:27,  View Count : 5
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday termed her visit to Italy to join the 10th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) Summit-2014 'very important, successful and fruitful' in the context of Bangladesh's socio-economic development.

"With this, our relations with the ASEM member countries, including Italy, have reached a new height," she said.

The Prime Minister was speaking at a crowded press conference at her official residence Ganobhaban in the afternoon. The press conference was arranged on the outcome of her four-day official tour to Italy.

Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and PM's Media Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury were present on the dais. Besides, PM's Press Secretary AKM Shameem Chowdhury was present, among others.

Sheikh Hasina said the aim of her government is to keep strong the Bangladesh’s economy and make deeper and permanent relations with all economic powerhouses of the world. "To attain the goal, we're very much active than any time (in the past)."

The Prime Minister mentioned that the 10th ASEM Summit was held at Milano Congressi in the Italian city of Milan on October 16-17 where 51 countries from Asia and Europe as well as European Union and ASEAN Secretariat took part.

Heads of state and governments of 44 countries, including British Prime Minister David Cameron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, attended the summit, she said.

Besides, she said, the presidents of European Commission and European Council as well as the ASEAN secretary general joined the summit.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh became a member of the ASEM in its 9th summit held in Laos in 2012. She said 65 percent of the world population live in the ASEM countries and 60 percent of the global GDP belong to the ASEM member states.

The Prime Minister said, "Through the inclusion of Bangladesh in the ASEM, we’ve enhanced the country’s position and dignity further as most of its members represent the developed world. The ASEM has included Bangladesh as a member as its (Bangladesh) economy is improving rapidly. It's an honour for Bangladesh."

She said she delivered a speech in the Plenary Session of the 10th ASEM Summit on 'Asia-Europe Partnership in Addressing Global Matters in an Inter-connected World' on October 16.

In her speech, the Prime Minister highlighted different issues, including foundation and potentialities of mutual relations, climate change, migration, MDGs, establishing rights of the people in education, health, and ICT, alleviation of hunger and poverty, the post-2015 development strategies and goals and Bangladesh's contribution to the regional and intercontinental connectivity.

"I also called for building a strong partnership between Asia and Europe in the fields of trade and technical cooperation to translate connectivity between the two continents into a reality," she said.

Sheikh Hasina also addressed the Retreat Session on ‘Enhancing Dialogue and Cooperation between Asia and Europe and Future Direction’ on the concluding day of the 10th ASEM Summit.

In the retreat session, Sheikh Hasina said, she had apprised the world leaders of the projects and steps taken by her government to combat the adverse impacts of climate change, saying Bangladesh could share its modest experience with any country on climate-resilience in facing climate change impacts.

She also assured the world leaders of her "zero tolerance" stance against terrorism and militancy, and said Bangladesh would not allow its land to be used for terrorist activities against any other country.

On the sidelines of the Summit, the Prime Minister held bilateral meetings with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Italian Prime Minister Mattero Renzi, Greek Prime Minister Antinious C Samaras, Swedish Prime Minister Stefen Lofven and Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte.

She said she also exchanged greetings with Japanese Premier Shinzo Abe, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen and Brunei Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.

The Italian Premier was surprised after knowing that Bangladesh has been maintaining over 6 percent GDP growth since 2009 despite a worldwide recession, she said.

She also raised the issue of various problems which the expatriate Bangladeshis are facing in Italy and requested him to take measures to resolve these.

The Prime Minister said she also joined a gala dinner hosted by Italian President Giorgio Nepolitano. "During the dinner, I discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin and we hope that socioeconomic relations between Bangladesh and Russia would be strengthened in the days to come," she said.

Hasina also attended a civic reception hosted by the Bangladeshi community in Milan when she urged them to uphold the dignity and image of the country before the world community.

At the press conference, Sheikh Hasina also mentioned her tours to Myanmar, Japan, China and the UK as well as her participation in the UNGA in New York which, she said, were very significant for Bangladesh.


Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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