France celebrates its National Day in commemoration of the storming of the Bastille in Paris on the 14th of July 1789. It remains the powerful symbol of the French revolutionary fight for emancipation from a then absolute monarchy, followed a few weeks later by the landmark proclamation of the “Declaration of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen”, opening the long and arduous way to the establishment of democracy and the rule of law.
Bangladesh and France have nurtured warm and friendly relations since the early days of the fight for Independence led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in 1971; the support lent to him by André Malraux remains in our collective memory. Since then, through high-level political exchanges and visits, our two countries have developed a fruitful dialogue on numerous issues of common interest.
H.E. Mr. Emmanuel Macron, President of the French Republic, received H.E. Sheikh Hasina, the Honorable Prime Minister, in Paris last December. He expressed our gratitude and warm appreciation for the generous welcome and protection granted by Bangladesh to some 800,000 Rohingya refugees forced to flee Myanmar since August. He confirmed our active support in the UN Security Council and Human Rights Council, in order to press for an end to violence and bringing their perpetrators to justice.
Both leaders also exchanged on sustainable development and in particular combatting climate change, reaffirming their shared commitment to the full implementation of the Paris Agreement signed in 2015, prior to Sheikh Hasina's presentation of the commitments of Bangladesh, one of the most vulnerable State-Parties, during the “One Planet Summit”.
Sustainable Development is indeed the focus of our official development assistance, operated by the Agence Française de Développement, which aims among other things, at ensuring access to potable water, facilitating sustainable urban transportation, enlarging access to energy and improving its efficiency. In terms of scientific and technical cooperation, we have also focused our efforts on environment-related issues, such as oceanography, hydrology, renewable energies…
Our President has also marked his appreciation for the sustained path of economic growth in Bangladesh over the last 10 years, and underlined that France is also contributing to the economic development of Bangladesh through our private sector companies, supplying high quality and sustainable technologies. France has been very happy to join in sharing the pride of your country after the successful launch of the first Bangladesh's communication satellite Bangabandhu-I, built by the French company Thales Alenia Space, marking the entry of your country in a new era. We will soon witness the launch of other high quality projects, notably in the field of water treatment (Dhaka WASA and Suez-Veolia) and energy.
We are convinced that we can do a lot more together: working for peace and stability in international fora and in our respective regions; ensuring sustainable development for all; promoting our shared attachment to education, language and culture; and, as we will celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on the 10th of December consolidating democracy and defending the human rights of all women and men in the world as well as in our respective countries.