Momen urges Canada to send vaccine bilaterally, under COVAX

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has urged Canada to provide more vaccine doses to Bangladesh both bilaterally and under the COVAX framework.

He made the urge while holding a virtual meeting with Canadian Minister for International Development Karina Gould, who is a co-chair in the COVAX Humanitarian Buffer, a foreign ministry press release said here today.

Two ministers discussed a wide range of issues encompassing the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh’s graduation from LDC status and cooperation in addressing climate change.

Expressing Bangladesh’s appreciation to the important message of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the occasion of the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the Independence, Dr. Momen observed that the bilateral ties between two countries continue to remain very strong.

Expressing optimism regarding the co-chairmanship of Bangladesh and Canada in the preparatory process of the upcoming 5th UN Conference on LDCs (LDC-5) to be held in January 2022 in Doha, he requested the Canadian Government to extend preferential trade access for graduating LDCs, like Bangladesh, till 2030 in order to help addressing post-pandemic scenario.

Momen thanked Canada for its consistent political and humanitarian support for the displaced and persecuted Rohingyas, including for the genocide case ongoing in the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Underscoring that the repatriation of displaced Rohingyas remains as the priority for Bangladesh, he urged Canada to take a leadership role in this regard and assist Gambia through making financial support for the proceeding of the case in ICJ.

Informing that Bangladesh has commenced vaccinating displaced Rohingyas over 55 years numbering around 48 thousand, he highlighted the fact that not a single Rohingya person in Bangladesh has so far died due to COVID-19.

He also said UN and International Community need to come forward to support the humanitarian operations in Bhashan Char as soon as possible as the facilities in the island are far better than the camps in Cox’s Bazar.

On climate change, Momen sought for Canada’s support in the COP26 in terms of realizing the demand that each country must implement their respective Nationally determined contributions (NDCs).

Describing that Bangladesh has taken various adaptation and mitigation measures including the “Mujib Prosperity Plan” envisaging using renewable energy to meet 40 percent of its energy demand, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister also urged Canada to consider providing financial assistance to the regional Global Adaptation Centre (GAC) established in Bangladesh.

Momen also reiterated Bangladesh’s strong expectation that Nur Chowdhury, the convicted killer of the Father of the Nation, would be sent back from Canada to Bangladesh, underscoring that this would ensure justice and rule of law.

Canadian Minister Karina Gould congratulated Bangladesh on the occasion of the Birth Centenary of the Father of the Nation and the Golden Jubilee of Independence.

She reiterated Canada’s appreciation to Bangladesh’s generosity of hosting the persecuted displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar.

Underscoring that the Rohingya issue remains as a foreign policy priority of Canada, she informed that Canada has earmarked 288 million Canadian Dollar for next three years for programs related to the Rohingya issue.

She also stated that Canada will consider the possibility of Canada’s financial support for the ICJ case on Rohingya.

The Canadian Minister assured that Canada would give due consideration to Bangladesh’s request to provide vaccine including for displaced Rohingyas and host community.

She also recalled that Canada has already provided medicine and oxygen concentrator supports to Bangladesh through the UNICEF and some NGOs; and stated that such assistance including vaccine support may come in future.

She concluded by underscoring that Canada remains committed to work with Bangladesh, including on Rohingya, climate change and LDC issues.

She also expressed optimism that she would be able to visit Bangladesh in person in near future.