بســم اللّـه الرّحمـن الرّحيــم
Honourable Speaker, Distinguished Members of the People's Majlis; Your Excellency, Abdulla Hamid, President of People’s Republic of Bangladesh,
Your Excellency Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Assalaam Alaikum, and good evening,
I am honoured to have been invited to this august event, commemorating the life and legacy of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Sheikh Mujibur Rahman will remain a source of inspiration for many generations to come. Affectionately known as ‘Bangabandhu’ or ‘friend of Bengal’, the first President of Bangladesh is one of the giants of South Asian history, whose actions were pivotal in securing an independent destiny for the people of Bangladesh.
Throughout his life he was an uncompromising advocate of democracy and political freedoms. He championed those values often, in powerful words that resonated with people from all walks of life. His six-point programme laid the foundation for Bangladesh’s independence, and provided the underlying values of the country’s constitution. As testament to his skill and his monumental historic standing, his 7th of March speech effectively declaring the independence of Bangladesh has been added by UNESCO to the Memory of th World Register as documentary heritage.
Despite the tragic circumstances of his death, his legacy will not be forgotten. He will always have an honoured place in the hearts of those who yearn for democracy and freedom.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
I congratulate Bangladesh for the remarkable work that has gone into to uplifting the lives of its people and developing the country. The pace of economic development in Bangladesh has been remarkable. Prudent policies by the leadership of Bangladesh and the hard work of its people is transforming the country into a fast growing and strong economy.
I thank you also for all that you and the Government of Bangladesh have done for the people of Maldives, with respect to our formal bilateral engagements, and the care and concern you have shown for the resident Maldivian community in Bangladesh. We now live in extraordinary times, with the entire globe confronting the Covid-19 pandemic. The Maldives is grateful for the friendship we enjoy with the people of Bangladesh, which has helped us to endure the many challenges that we confront because of the virus. We are immeasurably grateful for the grant assistance of food, personal protective equipment and medical supplies. Recently the Bangladeshi Government made the extremely generous decision to send a team of healthcare professionals from the Bangladeshi Air Force to help-build up the Maldives’ health response. This is in addition to the medical team that visited the Maldives last year. The Maldives is extremely grateful for this decision, and acknowledges it as symbolic of the strong relations between our two countries.
The cooperation between our two countries is extensive. We rely on your support for human resource development in various fields, in particular health and medicine. As low lying countries in the Indian Ocean, climate change is also an urgent mutual priority for both Maldives and Bangladesh. Every monsoon season Bangladesh suffers much loss of life because of the flooding caused by heavy rainfall. This is a tragic reminder of the consequences of climate change. The Maldives commends Bangladesh for the leading role it plays in the Climate Vulnerable Forum and for its efforts to develop a Blue Economy - a goal that we share in common. We will continue to work together with the Government of Bangladesh to address the existential threats posed by climate change.
Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
I am confident that the close historic and friendly relations that exist between our two countries will grow from strength to strength. The Maldives, for our part, will always strive to do right by the people of Bangladesh. Today, Bangladeshis comprise one of the biggest expatriate workforces in the Maldives. Their contribution to the socio-economic development of our country is immeasurable. I can assure you that my Government has every intention to protect the rights of all of the expatriate communities in the Maldives.
This is reflected in my Government’s decision to provide vaccination against Covid-19 to all expatriates living in the country, regardless of nationality or status, free of charge, consistent with our policy throughout the pandemic of not discriminating between citizens and non-citizens in our health response.
Before I conclude, I would like to thank the Bangladeshi Government for all the excellent programmes made on behalf of myself and my delegation, and for the warmth and hospitality that has been extended to us. I would like to take this opportunity to invite Your Excellencies, President Abdul Hamid, and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, to undertake a visit to the Maldives at an opportune time.
Thank you very much.