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Australia to ‘energetically work’ with Bangladesh on all fronts

01 Oct 2019, 16:16

Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Julia Niblett speaks at a symposium titled "Bangladesh-Australia Relations: Prognosis for the Future" at Six Seasons Hotel in Dhaka on Tuesday, Oct 1, 2019. Photo: UNB

 Australian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Julia Niblett has said Australia will continue to ‘energetically work’ with Bangladesh bilaterally, regionally and internationally saying there is huge potential for collaboration and strengthening relations further between the two countries. 

She summarised the prognosis for Bangladesh-Australia relations simply in three Ps -- potential for growth, pragmatic and people-centric. 

‘There're many areas where Australia will continue to energetically work with Bangladesh,’ said the Australian High Commissioner. 

She made the remarks while delivering the keynote at a symposium titled ‘Bangladesh-Australia Relations: Prognosis for the Future’ under the Cosmos Foundation’s Ambassador Lecture Series at Six Seasons Hotel in the city.

Cosmos Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bangladeshi conglomerate Cosmos Group, hosted the event.

The symposium was chaired by Principal Research Fellow of the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore, Dr Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury.

Cosmos Foundation Chairman Enayetullah Khan delivered the welcome speech.

The Australian High Commissioner said Australia wants to approach the decade  ahead - with all countries, including Bangladesh - with confidence on things that matter to keeping their region ‘secure, stable, peaceful and prosperous’. 

On the Rohingya issue, she said they will continue to work with Bangladesh, Myanmar, other regional partners and the broader international community towards a long-term and durable solution to Rohingya crisis. ‘We'll stand by Bangladesh on the Rohingya issue.’

The High Commissioner said Australia will continue to pursue accountability for the abuses, and justice for the Rohingya through strong support for UN resolutions and accountability mechanisms. 

She said Australia continues to encourage Myanmar to implement the Rakhine Advisory Commission's recommendations.    
British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson, Canadian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Benoit Préfontaine, Brazilian Ambassador to  Bangladesh Joao Tabajara de Oliveira Junior, former foreign secretaries Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury and Md Touhid Hossain and business leader Salahuddin Kasem Khan, among others, were present. 

The foreign affairs experts highlighted ways to deepen economic and development cooperation between Bangladesh and Australia apart from shedding lights on global issues, including the Rohingya crisis, migration and climate change.

Australia was one of the first countries to recognise Bangladesh, and throughout the past decades, the two countries have enjoyed good, friendly relations that continue to flourish.

Australia's bilateral relationship with Bangladesh continues to grow and the two-way trade exceeded AUD 2.5 billion on the back of sustained growth in the Bangladesh economy.

Bangladeshi products have been enjoying duty- and quota-free access to Australia since July 1, 2003.

Bangladesh also offers commercial opportunities to Australian companies in energy, telecom, transport, textiles, education and mining sectors.

Australia’s world-class education system makes it the third-most popular destination for thousands of Bangladeshi students.

Currently, almost 50,000 Bangladeshi-born people are living in Australia, according to the High Commissioner, and the community has been growing in recent years.