Eastern Times Correspondent, Dhaka, 18 June: Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has called on the United Nations to ensure affordable access to the coronavirus vaccine accessible for all as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to run rampant across the world.
In a bilateral meeting at the UN Headquarters in New York on Jun 17, the foreign minister thanked the organisation’s Secretary General Antonio Guterres for declaring the COVID 19 vaccine a public good in the battle against the pandemic.
In response, Guterres spoke about his efforts during the recent G-7 summit where he highlighted Bangladesh’s capacity to produce vaccines.
He also praised the South Asian nation’s ‘strong leadership role’ in all areas of the UN’s activities, especially in peacekeeping, climate change and women empowerment.
“The UN has a special relation with Bangladesh.”
The issue of the Rohingya refugee crisis was also raised during the meeting, as Momen stressed the immediate need for the secretary general’s personal intervention in finding a resolution in light of the deteriorating political situation in Myanmar.
He also expressed frustration over the fact that many influential countries have enhanced their economic and business relations with Myanmar while publicly decrying the human rights violations there.
More than 700,000 Rohingya crossed the border into Bangladesh after a 2017 crackdown by the Myanmar military, taking the number of refugees in Bangladesh past 1 million.
But as the continued presence of the refugees started to take a socio-economic toll on the region, the government decided to shift a large group of Rohingya to Bhasan Char, an island in Noakhali.