On behalf of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen Thursday conferred the "Bangabandhu Medal for Diplomatic Excellence" to the Bangladesh ambassador to Poland and the Japanese ambassador to Bangladesh.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the function virtually.

The awards were handed over when the newly constructed eight-story building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was formally inaugurated by the prime minister virtually.

Ambassador Sultana Laila Hossain has played an important role in dealing with the exodus of hundreds of Bangladeshis in one of the largest migration crises in Europe, following the war between Russia and Ukraine in February.

Ambassador Naoki, who joined the event virtually from Japan, was honoured for playing an important role in boosting the bilateral relationship with Bangladesh on all fronts.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen were present at the event.

National Interests First

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has urged the journalists to uphold the country's interest and dignity while exercising their right to free expression.

"The government is very transparent. We believe in freedom of speech," he said, adding that in some cases unregulated freedom creates problems.

Sharing his experience of living in the USA, Momen said all freedoms are regulated there and everyone needs to keep in mind that there is limitation.

The foreign minister made the remarks during a courtesy meeting with the executive committee of the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Wednesday.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen, DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus and its General Secretary AKM Moinuddin were present.

The foreign minister said there is a "sea change" in the country in terms of development and stability which is good for the whole region.

"We have stability and impressive growth," he said, expecting that everyone involved in journalism will uphold the interest of the country.

Talking about disinformation, Momen said all need to remain careful so that nobody can undermine the country and its interest. "You all love this country. We love too. People's welfare should be kept in mind."

MEPs' Visit: Trade Issues to Get Priority

Bangladesh and the European Union (EU) will discuss mainly trade related issues during the visit of a trade delegation from the European parliament in July third week.

"They are interested in following trade relations between the EU and Bangladesh which are growing very strongly," EU Ambassador to Bangladesh Charles Whiteley told reporters on Tuesday after his meeting with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam.

He said the delegation of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) is coming to meet different ministers and other organizations.

The EU ambassador said both sides will be looking at GSP regulation, which is their global regulation as they are very committed and interested on the trade front.

The State Minister said the delegation will visit privately owned factories and see Bangladesh's development.

Bangladesh is already engaging in the GSP Plus issue which is a rather difficult process and the EU says it is very encouraging to see awareness in Bangladesh.

The EU is very happy that the Everything but Arms (EBA) has helped Bangladesh and thanked Bangladesh for the high quality clothing that they get from Bangladesh.

Bangladesh suggested an extension of the existing DFQF market access for Bangladesh in the European market by nine years beyond the three years of leeway after the graduation.

Bangladesh can still enjoy the duty-free quota-free market access after 2026 up to 2029.

The EU's Generalised Scheme of Preferences Plus (GSP+) gives developing countries a special incentive to pursue sustainable development and good governance.

Eligible countries have to implement 27 international conventions on human rights, labour rights, the environment and good governance.

The State Minister said there will be a wide-ranging discussion with the EU delegation.

Bangladesh draws worldwide attention for keeping up its growth momentum despite the global recession triggered by the pandemic and war, he said.

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