End cycle of sanctions and counter-sanctions: PM Hasina

PM Hasina urged global leaders to spend resources on what is good for the people, not on the arms race.


Narendra Modi, Sheikh Hasina exchange greetings during the BRICS summit on Wednesday. PHOTO: FOCUS BANGLA/ THE DAILY STAR

August 25, 2023

DHAKA – Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called on world leaders to end the cycle of sanctions and counter-sanctions and to raise voices against all threats, provocations and commission of war.

“We must reject attempts to weaponize universal norms and values,” she said, addressing BRICS-Africa Outreach and the BRICS Plus Dialogues at Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg yesterday, reports UNB.

She then urged the leaders to spend resources on what is good for the people, not on the arms race.

BRICS, an alliance of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, was formed in 2010 as an alternative to the West-influenced World Bank and International Monetary Fund.

Hasina also held bilateral meetings with heads of the state of four countries on the sidelines of the Summit. She met Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, President of Mozambique Filipe Jacinto Nyusi, President of Tanzania Saima Sulluhu, and Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

“Let BRICS be a lighthouse in a multi-polar world, emerge as an inclusive platform, and take responsibility for peace, justice and stability around the globe,” she said in her speech.

Bangladesh recently applied for a BRICS membership. Chinese President Xi Jinping, who held a bilateral meeting with Hasina on the sidelines of the BRICS summit on Wednesday, assured China’s support for Bangladesh’s membership.

Many consider the summit to be of significance, given the rising global geopolitical polarisation and the Russia-Ukraine war that triggered Washington and its allies to impose numerous sanctions on Russia.

In Bangladesh, the US sanctions on Rab and visa restrictions are putting pressure on the government.

At the BRICS event yesterday, Hasina said her government saw considerable merit in Bangladesh’s share in the New Development Bank of BRICS.

“We need predictable financing to support our investments in infrastructure, industries and clean energy. We must have viable options while waiting for reforms of the international financial architecture.”

Bangladesh has always championed the cause of Least Developed Countries, mostly in Africa, and is proud to be engaged in UN peacekeeping missions in Africa, she said.

Bangladesh is ready to share its expertise on food production, affordable medicine, and disaster risk reduction, she added.

The premier also emphasised the need for increasing air and maritime connectivity to promote mutual trade and investment with Africa.

“Together, we must continue to seek our dues for international financing and technologies. We need to unite around climate justice, migrants’ rights, digital equity and debt sustainability.”

BSS reports, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi walked to Hasina to exchange pleasantries at a dinner hosted by BRICS Chair South African President Cyril Ramaphosa at Gallagher Estate, Midrand, in Johannesburg on Wednesday.

On the sidelines of the BRICS Plus Dialogue, Hasina also exchanged pleasantries with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, President of the Republic of Indonesia Joko Widodo, United Nations Secretary General António Guterres, and the vice-president of Uganda, deputy prime minister of South Africa, Russian foreign minister, and Saudi Arabian foreign minister.


Beijing supports Dhaka in opposing external interference and safeguarding national sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, so that Bangladesh can achieve development and maintain domestic unity and stability, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, reports Chinese news agency Xinhua.

China and Bangladesh upgraded bilateral ties to a strategic cooperative partnership in 2016. Now China is willing to strengthen cooperation in development strategies with Bangladesh and deepen practical cooperation in various fields, Xi told Hasina.

Dhaka appreciates China’s important role in promoting regional peace and stability, and the sound Bangladesh-China relationship is based on mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, Hasina told Xi, reports UNB.

Xi said China will always stay beside Bangladesh, support its bid to join BRICS and ensure a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis.

Hasina talked about the urgent need for Rohingya repatriation as the crisis is a threat to peace in the region, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters in Johannesburg.

Xi said China wants to resolve the Rohingya crisis through the engagement of China, Bangladesh and Myanmar.

Xi also expressed China’s eagerness to help Bangladesh in the development of energy, renewables, and infrastructure.

Hasina sought Xi’s help in quickly implementing the China-funded projects stuck amid fund shortage.

Bangladesh imports Chinese goods worth about $20 billion annually, while China imports Bangladeshi goods worth only $700 million, she said.

The trade gap between Bangladesh and China will reduce if Chinese investment comes to Bangladesh, she said, requesting the signing of the Preferential Trade Agreement between the two countries.

“We will take measures to quicken the signing of the Preferential Trade Agreement between the countries,” Xi was quoted as saying by Momen.

As Hasina invited Xi to visit Bangladesh to witness the opening of the Padma Rail Bridge in October, the latter said he would definitely come to Bangladesh, but the time will be fixed through the foreign ministries.

Xi also invited Hasina to visit China. The PM said the visit might take time as she would be busy with the election campaign.

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