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4 December, 2017 00:00 00 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 4 December, 2017 01:31:48 AM
Padma Bridge with own fund

World now treats country with more respect: PM

World now treats country with more respect: PM
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is welcomed by Cambodian Women Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Pahvi and Under Secretary of State on Foreign Affairs and International Assistance Eat Sophea as a red carpet was rolled out upon her arrival at Phnom Penh International Airport in the Cambodian capital yesterday. PMO Photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday said her government's stance and continued efforts to build the Padma Bridge with its own fund have changed the attitude of the world towards Bangladesh as all now treat it with respect, reports UNB from Phnom Penh, Cambodia. "That incident (implementation of Padma Bridge with own fund) has changed the mindset and attitude of the world towards the people of Bangladesh as they now give due respect while talking about Bangladesh. We want to move ahead in the global arena with due respect as a victorious nation in the Great War of Liberation," she said. The Prime Minister said this while addressing a dinner programme hosted at Hotel Sofitel in honour of her by Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand Saida Muna Tasneem, concurrently accredited to Cambodia.

Hasina said there was a big challenge for her government over the Padma Bridge issue when the World Bank and other development partners withdrew their funding from the much-hyped bridge project following a false allegation of corruption.

"There was a perception that we won't be able to construct the bridge without the World Bank funding. But, I then insisted that we can do that. We didn't accept any false allegation and we had to endure sufferings and mental pain, but we took the challenge. Now the most important thing is we're doing it with our own fund. All the materials including cement and steel are being provided from Bangladesh for the bridge," she added.

Sheikh Hasina also urged the Bangladeshi businesses to look for suitable partners in Cambodia and thus move ahead for joint venture projects with their Cambodian counterparts.

Highlighting various achievements of her government in different socioeconomic fields, Hasina said her government has increased the size of the national budget by almost five times over the last nine years while the GDP growth reached 7.28 percent in the last fiscal. "InshaAllah, we'll be able to move ahead further."

Turning to her visit to the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum today, Hasina said no other countries in the world except Cambodia and Bangladesh have witnessed such level of genocides.

She said her government is taking steps to preserve the historic sites and evidence of the Great War of Liberation so that the future generation could learn properly the history and tales of the Liberation War.

Pointing at the inclusion of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's historic 7th March Speech as World Documentary Heritage by the Unesco, Hasina noted that the whole Bengali Nation now has got the respect. "No one can erase history ...distorted history can never help people grow in a healthy atmosphere," she added.

Recalling her previous visits to Cambodia back in 1997 and in 2001, the Prime Minister said Cambodia is a very resourceful and beautiful country and the country is also moving ahead like Bangladesh braving all the odds and obstacles. Bangabandhu's younger daughter Sheikh Rehana, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for ICT Division Zunaid Ahmed Palak, PM's Principal Secretary Dr Kamal Abdul Naser Chowdhury, Chief Coordinator on SDGs Affairs at the Prime Minister's Office Md Abul Kalam Azad, Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque were present at the dais.

Later, the Prime Minister enjoyed a colorful cultural programme performed by Bangladeshi artistes living in Thailand and Cambodia.

Earlier, the prime minister paid tributes and deep homage to Cambodian martyrs by placing a wreath at the Independence Monument.

A smartly turned out contingent drawn from three services of the Cambodian armed forces gave a static guard of honour to the Bangladesh Prime Minister, while bugle played the last post.

The Independence Monument in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, was built in 1958 to memorialise Cambodia's independence from France in 1953. The lotus-shaped Independence Monument was designed by the Cambodian architect Vann Molyvann.

Later, the Prime Minister paid homage to Cambodian late King Norodom Sihanouk by laying a wreath at his memorial.

Her sister Sheikh Rehana and other entourage of the Prime Minister were present.

Sheikh Hasina later visited the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum. The museum situated in the heart of Phnom Penh, chronicling the Cambodian genocide.

Earlier, a red carpet was rolled out as Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina arrived on a three-day official visit to Cambodia at the invitation of her Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen.

A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the prime minister and her entourage landed at Phnom Penh International Airport at 12:15 pm (local time).

Cambodian Women Affairs Minister Ing Kantha Pahvi, Under Secretary of State on Foreign Affairs and International Assistance Eat Sophea, Cambodian non-resident Ambassador to Bangladesh Pochkhun Panha and Bangladesh Ambassador to Thailand Saida Muna Tasneem, who is concurrently accredited to Cambodia, received the Prime Minister at the airport.

Later, the prime minister, in a ceremonial motorcade, was taken to Hotel Sofitel, where she will be staying during her visit to Cambodia.

The road from the airport to the hotel was decorated with the national flags of the two countries as well as the portrait of Sheikh Hasina and the Cambodian King and Prime Minister, welcoming Sheikh Hasina.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to hold official talks with her Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen today. Before the talks, the two Prime Ministers would have a tete-a-tete.

Later, 11 instruments -- two agreements and nine memorandums of understanding (MoUs) -- will be signed between Bangladesh and Cambodia in the presence of the two prime ministers. Sheikh Hasina will have a royal audience with King of Cambodia Norodom Sihamon and will separately call on Cambodian Senate President Say Chhum and National Assembly President Heng Samrin.

She will join a business dialogue as the chief guest to be arranged by the Cambodian Chamber and attend the official dinner to be hosted by the Cambodian Prime Minister. Wrapping up her three-day official visit to Cambodia, the Prime Minister will return home on the afternoon of December 5.


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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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