People’s welfare govt’s first priority: Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen today, August 10 reiterated that people’s right to food and shelter and their welfare remain the number one priority of the government, not luxury.

Momen said, “Our number one priority is to ensure people’s welfare and betterment of the country. Right to food and right to shelter – these are our priority human rights. Food security is our priority. I do not think we sign any agreement where luxury is involved.”

While a journalist wanted to know about the government’s position regarding the ‘General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA)’ and the ‘Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA)’, the foreign minister made the remarks.

These two are “essential” to enabling a closer defence relationship, expanding opportunities for defence trade, information sharing, and military-to-military cooperation between Bangladesh and the USA. Earlier, the foreign minister exchanged views with experts from various fields including foreign affairs experts, university professors, security analysts and senior journalists at the Foreign Service Academy.

Momen said after the lengthy meeting with the experts that lasted for over two hours, “It is nothing new. We do such dialogue regularly.” Responding to a question, the foreign minister said they will be very happy if the USA helps Bangladesh to strengthen its fight against corruption.

He said, “We will be very happy if they freeze the money if anyone takes it from Bangladesh through corruption. We will welcome it.” Earlier, the USA encouraged Bangladesh to “root out corrupt actors,” operating within its borders “fairly and impartially.”

“Generally speaking, sanctions can be a tool to fight corruption,” US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller told reporters in a regular briefing in Washington on August 8.

He said that they have other tools as well, such as freezing assets and giving partner nations information so they can prosecute cases.

The US Department of State’s Coordinator on Global Anti-Corruption, Richard Nephew, echoed the same regarding sanctions to address corruption during his Bangladesh visit on August 6-8.

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