Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN)- British Senior Minister of State for Commonwealth and Foreign Office, Baroness Sayeeda Warsi, on Tuesday called on Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni at her office in the capital Dhaka.
Welcoming the British Minister, the Foreign Minister expressed her satisfaction at the historic and traditional links that exist between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom, a foreign ministry statement said.
Baroness Warsi evinced keen interest about the recent awakening and peaceful mass protests in Shahbag and allover the country for bringing the alleged war criminals to justice.
She said the UK government supports the process of accountability while mentioning about UK’s position on death penalty. Dipu Moni briefed her about the on-going trial of persons who committed genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes in 1971 which is being done in a transparent manner and in line with the international standard.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh Parliament recently amended the International Crimes (Tribunals) Act- 1973 to provide equal opportunities for plaintiff and the accused both to appeal.
The Foreign Minister reiterated that the government remains committed to hold the next national elections in a free and transparent manner.
“A strong and independent Election Commission, an independent Anti-Corruption Commission and an independent media along with avibrant civil society are enough to ensure free and fair elections” she asserted.
Dipu Moni added that under the present government, 5,500 elections were held during the last four years where more than 63,000 people have been elected and none should be apprehensive about the neutrality of the next election.
The visiting UK state minister proposed that Bangladesh could identify specific sectors where more investment could be made by UK.
Dipu Moni sought support from UK under the DFID for the testing laboratories in respect of pharmaceuticals, frozen food and vegetable industries.
The Foreign Minister took the opportunity to draw her attention about the problems being faced by some Bangladesh students due to drastic changes brought on privately-funded colleges.
Baroness Warsi informed that UK has formed a Task Force to look into the issue and expressed optimism that the issue would be solved in near future as the affected students are expected to find places in new universities.
About the problems faced by the workers from Bangladesh in the curry industry, Bangladesh Foreign Minister appreciated the training of chefs by the UK government but suggested that a gradual approach to restriction of migrant workers could be an acceptable solution.
The visiting minister thanked Bangladesh for hosting a huge number of Myanmar nationals.
Dipu Moni narrated the numerous difficulties Bangladesh had been facing in hosting them while specially pointing out about the adverse effects of the challenge on the economy, society and security of the country.
She underlined that the solution of the problem lies in Myanmar which the visiting dignitary readily concurred. British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Gibson, and Director General of Foreign Ministry Shameem Ahasan were also present.
BBN/SSR/AD-19Feb13-10:10 pm (BST)