On 22 April 2021, the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Kingdom of the Netherlands held a round of virtual Foreign Office Consultations. The Delegation on the Bangladesh side was led by Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Ambassador Masud Bin Momen. The Delegation from the Netherlands was led by the Secretary-General of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Paul Huijts.
The fourth round of Foreign Office Consultations between the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Kingdom of the Netherlands took place amid Bangladesh’s Golden Jubilee and the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birth centenary celebrations, and the upcoming 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Netherlands and Bangladesh have maintained an enduring friendship over the course of those 50 years, marked by a significant Dutch role in Bangladesh’s early infrastructural development and water management and food security efforts, now considered key successes for both countries.
Both delegation leaders acknowledged the impact COVID-19 has had on their societies and shared their views on post-COVID-19 economic recovery to ‘build back better’.
They noted the strong ties between the two countries over the past 50 years and elaborated on political and economic developments as well as the evolving nature of the bilateral relationship, with a shift from development cooperation to economic cooperation. Both sides agreed to continue exchanging views on human rights and rule of law, including in multilateral fora.
The delegations held an in-depth discussion on how to further strengthen our economic ties and knowledge exchange in a wide variety of areas, including water management, agriculture, digitalisation and climate adaptation. The Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100 was specifically discussed as a key vehicle for integrating cooperation on water management and food security.
The Kingdom of the Netherlands underscored the importance of an accommodating business climate for foreign investment and trade, as well as adherence to global labour and environmental standards, in order to attract more foreign investment and business to Bangladesh. The Bangladesh side underscored the need for promoting responsible business conduct in the global supply chain and for continued international support measures following its graduation from the Least Developed Country (LDC) status.
The two delegation leaders discussed developments in the region, including the current focus on increasing cooperation and connectivity between the EU and the Indo-Pacific region. The Netherlands expressed its gratitude for Bangladesh’s hospitality towards the Rohingya people and noted ongoing discussions on humanitarian issues between the international donor community and Bangladesh.
Both countries shared their concerns about recent developments in Myanmar, including the serious challenges these developments pose for the safe, sustainable, dignified and voluntary return of the Rohingya to their homeland. The two countries also reiterated their continued commitment to justice and accountability for the human rights violations committed in Myanmar.
The Foreign Office Consultations underlined the willingness of both countries to explore and take up opportunities to further deepen and diversify the bilateral ties.