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Mentioning that the Indo-Pacific region must be an area of peace and prosperity for all, Sheikh Hasina said, “Our vision for the region is to have it free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive.”

The major actors in the region should learn from the past and work responsibly in the present to ensure a sustainable future, she said, adding, “Bangladesh wishes to engage with all our partners on the basis of mutual respect and understanding.”

In 1997, Sheik Hasina said, Bangladesh ended an armed conflict in its Chittagong Hill Tracts through a historic Peace Accord. “We vowed a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to all forms of terrorism. We keep investing at the community level to contain their spread,” she added.

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For many years now, she continued, Bangladesh ranks top among the troop and police contributing countries to UN peacekeeping operations, and hold on to its faith in the Middle East Peace Process in support of the Palestinian cause.

The prime minister further said, “Our advocacy for a Culture of Peace for twenty-two years is our counter-narrative to war. I keep calling for resources used for the global arms race to be channeled to sustainable development.”

She said Covid-19 pandemic has exposed the fault-lines running deep within the international health and financial systems.

“It has once again laid bare the gaps between the haves and have-nots. We must mind and close those gaps,” the premier said.

Sheikh Hasina said there is no option but to secure vaccines for millions of people without access to them.

“We must keep raising our climate ambitions to save people’s lives, homes and livelihoods,” she said.

The prime minister also said it is needed to find answers for the hundreds and thousands of migrants stuck at international borders.

“We must end discriminations based on race, colour and ethnicity. We must allow our women and girls to break all glass ceilings. We need to create decent work opportunities for all. We must match our words with our deeds and resources,” she said.

In this connection, she said, a rules-based multilateral order must be fair and meaningful for all people.

Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh believes that peace around the world is the best guarantee for national security. “We avoid the path of conflicts and seek pacific settlement of disputes,” she said.

She mentioned that Bangladesh has resolved land and maritime boundary issues with its neighbours through dialogue and lawful means. “We do not allow our land to be used for harmful activities against any other countries,” she said.

The prime minister said the world is still ridden with too many conflicts, and following the pandemic, there needs to be a surge in international peace diplomacy.

“We have a shared responsibility to seek just and lasting solutions to old and new conflicts,” she said.

As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, Sheikh Hasina said, France is uniquely placed to promote international peace and security.

She continued: “The world we call our home need not remain divided between the North and the South. As citizens of ‘One Planet’, we must champion our unity by celebrating our empathy, humanity and diversity.”

French president Emmanuel Macron convened the Forum while Forum president Pascal Lamy chaired the event.

Nigerian president Muhammadu Buhari and US vice president Kamala Harris also spoke at the programme.

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