Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen.
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen. Prothom Alo

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen has reaffirmed Bangladesh's unswerving commitment to NAM values and stressed the need to foster cooperation among the NAM member states to confront the challenges of the contemporary world, including the ongoing pandemic COVID-19.

He also sought support of the NAM countries to repatriate the 1.1 million persecuted and forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh.

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Momen mentioned this in his recorded statement delivered at the ministerial meeting of the NAM coordinating bureau on Friday.

Momen said that on the 65th anniversary of the Bandung Principles, NAM membership must reflect on the Movement's achievements so far, and endeavor to make NAM more relevant and effective to face the current and emerging global challenges, especially the COVID-19 pandemic.

Momen said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman recognized the importance of the Non-Aligned Movement and led Bangladesh to join the Movement as early as 1973.

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Since then, he said, Bangladesh remains an ardent supporter of NAM. He mentioned that since inception, NAM represented the basic aspirations of the common people of the world - to remain free from hunger and disease, to get decent employment and to achieve quality education.

However, the foreign minister said, COVID-19 pandemic presents formidable challenges to these aspirations.

During this trying time, NAM countries must work in full solidarity and pool their best practices, experiences, crises-management protocols, research, and resources to fight the invisible enemy, he said.

The foreign minister particularly underscored collaboration and political commitment among the member states on equitable and timely access to COVID-19 medicines and vaccines at affordable prices, guided by the spirit of fraternity and solidarity.

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Momen said COVID-19 is likely to exacerbate the existing global challenges including poverty, climate change, drought, desertification, violence, extremism, and conflicts. Building back better from the pandemic would necessitate committed leadership, and meaningful partnership.

To confront the challenges of the pandemic and to keep our development gains on track, NAM members must be guided by the movement's abiding principles, ideals and purposes in seeking to establish a peaceful and prosperous, just and equitable world, the foreign minister emphasized.