UKBD TIMES DESK:
Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Minister for the Commonwealth and the United Nations, left Bangladesh today following a two day trip.
As the first UK Minister to visit the country following June’s election, Lord Ahmad met the Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, and the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam and reinforced the UK’s commitment to deepening relations and co-operation with Bangladesh across a wide range of issues including trade, development, migration, and the shared challenge of combating terrorism and extremism. He reiterated the UK’s hope that the next parliamentary elections would be free, fair and inclusive. His message to Bangladeshi political parties was:
“Number one, please participate and secondly let’s have a free, fair and transparent election, because those are foundations for ensuring sustainable democracy for the long term.”
Ahead of the Commonwealth Summit in London next year, Lord Ahmad called on Bangladesh to play a leading role. He said:
“The Commonwealth has huge potential to increase its global influence. Britain will be looking at ways to re-invigorate and re-energise this unique institution when London hosts the Commonwealth Summit next April. Bangladesh has a great tale to tell, which should be shared with our partner Commonwealth countries, about the work it has done to empower women and girls through education and employment.”
He also discussed the role of the Commonwealth in promoting values such as tolerance, human rights and the rule of law.