On Friday, Dr Momen attended the 30th ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) held in Jakarta, Indonesia. He appealed for enhanced and more impactful assistance from ASEAN leaders and ARF member states to ensure the secure, sustainable, dignified, and voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas to their home country.
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In addition, the Foreign Minister has called upon ASEAN member states to actively support Bangladesh’s bid for Sectoral Dialogue Partner status within the regional bloc before their upcoming summit.
Future ties with ASEAN as a Sectoral Dialogue Partner
In a presentation on Bangladesh’s socioeconomic advancements, the Foreign Minister emphasized noteworthy accomplishments, including commendable COVID-19 management, a strong dedication to disaster Risk Reduction, investments in sustainable infrastructure, and substantial contributions to UN peacekeeping.
Additionally, he highlighted Bangladesh’s foreign policy focused on peace, friendship, and mutual respect, as outlined in the Indo-Pacific Outlook. These achievements exemplify the country’s unwavering commitment to sustainable development and fostering international cooperation.
The Foreign Minister also highlighted Bangladesh’s adoption of the Indo-Pacific Outlook (IPO), which underscores a peace-centered foreign policy inspired by the ideals of the nation’s founding leader, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who advocated “friendship to all, malice towards none.”
Furthermore, the minister emphasized the importance of financing and technology transfer to effectively transition from a least developed country (LDC) status, achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), foster a knowledge-based advanced economy, and develop a prosperous and climate-resilient delta region within the designated timeframe.
The Foreign Minister reaffirmed Bangladesh’s unwavering commitment and support for activities of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) aimed at collective security, peace, and shared prosperity. He requested active support from ASEAN leaders for Bangladesh’s bid to attain Sectoral Dialogue Partner status within ASEAN during the upcoming ASEAN Summit.
What is ASEAN?
ASEAN was officially founded on August 8, 1967, in Bangkok and is composed of ten Member States: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei Darussalam, Vietnam, Lao PDR, Myanmar, and Cambodia. Over the years, ASEAN has established Dialogue Partnerships with various nations, including Australia, Canada, China, the European Union (EU), India, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, Russia, the United Kingdom (UK), and the United States (US).
Moreover, ASEAN has Sectoral Dialogue Partnerships with countries like Brazil, Norway, Pakistan, Switzerland, and the United Arab Emirates (UAE). Notably, development partners such as Chile, France, Germany, and Italy have also engaged with ASEAN. Bangladesh’s interest in joining the sectoral dialogue format reflects the expanding cooperation within ASEAN.
Key outcome from ARF
The 30th ASEAN Regional Forum concluded by adopting seven outcome documents which included
1) Statement on the Commemoration of 30 Years of the ARF,
2) Statement of the 30th ASEAN Regional Forum on Strengthening Maritime Non- Traditional Security Cooperation,
3) Statement on Nuclear Risk Reduction,
4) Guidance on Nuclear Risk Reduction: In Pursuit of a World Without Nuclear Weapons,
5) Collection of Documents Commemorating the 30th Anniversary of the ASEAN Regional Forum,
6) Work Plan for Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime 2023-2025 and
7) Concept Paper on the Establishment of an Expert Group on Ferry Safety.