POST TIME: 8 January, 2019 00:00 00 AM
Economic diplomacy to be prioritised
Says newly appointed foreign minister
UNB, Dhaka

Economic diplomacy to be prioritised

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen

Newly appointed Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has said he will give priority to economic diplomacy, among other important issues, as the government will be working to take the country to higher development trajectory.

“Economic diplomacy will be prioritised. That’s what I can tell you,” Dr Momen told the news agency over phone after taking oath as foreign minister at Bangabhaban yesterday.

The government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is working to achieve higher middle-income country by 2021 and achieve sustainable development goals by 2030.The new foreign minister, however, did not want to elaborate right now his plans.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina picked Dr Momen, a globally well-connected man, as the new foreign minister in her cabinet replacing former foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali amid Bangladesh’s growing importance in global arena.

The government is dealing with a number of crucial issues, including Rohingya crisis.

Dr Momen, younger brother of outgoing Finance Minister AMA Muhith, was elected MP from Sylhet 1 constituency in the December-30 national election.

The new minister said responsibility of the present government has immensely increased as Awami League came to power again with huge mandate of the people. “Our responsibility increased a lot as peoples’ expectation on us is huge,” he said.

He served as Ambassador and Bangladesh Permanent Representative to the UN in New York with concurrent accreditation to the Republic of Chile and the Republic of Peru.

Muhith, who got elected from the same constituency in 2014, did not contest the election this time allowing his younger brother Dr Momen to follow his footstep.

He served as President of the UNICEF Executive Board at the international level in 2010. He was Vice President and Acting President of the 67th United Nations General Assembly.

Momen was President of the United Nations High-Level Committee on South-South Cooperation in 2014.

Foreign Ministry sources said the government will continue to pursue the foreign policy goal - "friendship to all and malice to none" as defined by the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam is continuing with the same portfolio for the second consecutive term.

Meanwhile, senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs bade farewell to Mahmood Ali on Monday.