29/05/2012: Hon. Prime Minister delivers key note speech at the US-Islamic World Forum gala dinner

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has called for joint efforts of all states to face the twin challenges of poverty and terrorism to secure global peace and harmony for future generations.Terming poverty a major “challenge of change” in the region, Hasina said she believes that poverty is the number one common enemy as it provides breeding ground of terrorism.The premier made the remarks in her keynote speech at the gala dinner of 'US-Islamic World Forum' 2012 held at The Ritz Carlton Hotel in Doha yesterday evening.

At the forum, Hasina emphasised on opening minds and hearts of all in assessing the needs of others, and be willing to compromise and make sacrifice on the basis of justice and fairness, and thereby achieve a world of peace and harmony for the future generations.“Our excellent relations with the neighbours, based on mutual respect, reciprocity and justice, have helped us all make good progress in developing connectivity in South Asia,” she said.

The regional cooperation against terrorism is also excellent, she said adding, “My effort to eliminate terrorism from Bangladesh has been fully endorsed and supported by our good friends around the world.”Hasina also stressed the need for support from resourceful and developed nations for the least developed countries like Bangladesh in tackling the problems like green house gas emissions, economic migration and terrorism.She thanked the organisers for the impeccable arrangements made, and for selecting this forum's theme, 'New Voices New Directions,' emphasising the challenges of change.

Hasina said that after half a century in politics for people, she now believes that justice is the key to peace, and peaceful change is best for societies, states, and the world.Hasina said it has, therefore, been for justice, a basic tenet and character of democracy, in all spheres of life that led to the birth of Bangladesh.The premier said Bangladesh's foreign policy dictum is “Friendship towards all, Malice towards none”.“Thus, followers of all religions in our country have found harmony and peace in living together,” she said.In this respect, Hasina said Bangladesh is similar to the United States, and this is the basis of the two countries' friendship.

“The United States is also our strong partner in democracy, rule of law, women empowerment, education, social safety nets, and countering terrorism, etc.“There is no doubt that the United States, the Islamic and the entire world have understood the need to live together and face unitedly the new and deadly challenges of change, threatening our global village,” she said.

Hasina said climate change challenges are being met by a 134- point adaptation and mitigation plan which includes, dredging of rivers, green belts on coastal and river embankments, promoting renewable energy, etc.“Climate change is not our doing, but of the developed and emerging economies. The problem should, therefore, be solved by relocating the migrants to their countries,” she said.The three-day forum is being organised by the State of Qatar and the Brookings Institute. Martin Indyk, vice president and director, Foreign Policy at Brookings, United States made the introductory remarks at the yesterday's forum.

Qatar's Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Hamad Bin Jassim Bin Jabr Al-Thani and Secretary General of Organisation of Islamic Conference (OIC) Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu also spoke on the occasion.Earlier, Sheikh Rashed Khalifa, Assistant Minister for Service Department at Qatar's Foreign Ministry, received Hasina on her arrival at Doha International Airport at 10:50am (local time).

Source: The Daily Star, Dhaka