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Golden Bengal, Bangladesh Independence and National Day 2016

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Pictured H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal and his wife Dr. Dilruba Nasrin.

By Roy Lie Tjam.

On the 45th National Independence Day of Bangladesh H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal hosted a reception, where many guests were invited. The reception took place at Bangladesh House in Wassenaar on the 29th March 2016.

A large number of diplomats, dignitaries, (international) judges, public servants and Bangladeshi diaspora responded to the cordial invitation by Ambassador Belal and attended the wonderful reception.

The guests enjoyed typical Bangladeshi hospitality including music, a video screening and an authentic Bangladeshi buffet, topped off with a speech by Ambassador Belal. According to Chinese, Greek and British scholars, Bengal was supposedly once the wealthiest region in the world. Today, Bangladesh is making strides to regain some of that glorious position it once held.

H.E. Ambassador Sheikh Mohammed Belal and his wife together with the Bangladesh Embassy staff.

Here follows an extract of Ambassador Belal’s welcome address:

“It is my profound pleasure to welcome you all to the celebration of the 45th Anniversary of our Independence and National Day.

I would like to begin by paying tribute to our greatest leader, Father of the Nation, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, whose dynamic and visionary leadership led Bangladesh to her independence in 1971. I also recall the supreme sacrifices made by the bravest sons and daughters of our soil to win the independence for us.

Bangladesh has come a long way since independence in realizing the Father of the Nation’s dream, a hunger-free, poverty-free and deprivation-free Bangladesh, a “Sonar Bangla”- Golden Bengal. We are now striving to make Bangladesh a knowledge-driven middle-income country by 2021 and a developed country by 2041. Our average GDP growth rate over the past decade has been six per cent plus. We have made significant progress in social sector and achieved almost all the MDGs. We Bangladeshis are peace loving moderate people. We have been consistently maintaining a ‘zero-tolerance’ policy in our efforts to counter terrorism and violent extremism.

The Netherlands was one of the first European countries to recognize Bangladesh on 11 February 1972. Since then, our relationship has witnessed a steady progress marked by genuine friendship between our two peoples and our two governments. The relationship between Bangladesh and the Netherlands has evolved to a development partnership. And this is reflected in the regular exchange of bilateral visits at high political and official levels, growth in trade and investment, and increased cooperation in agriculture, health, food security, water sector development, and human resources development.

Ambassador Belal and wife with members of the Bangladesh community in the Netherlands.

Hon. Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina paid an official visit to the Netherlands on 3-5 November 2015 at the invitation of the Prime Minister of the Netherlands His Excellency Mr. Mark Rutte. This was the first-ever official visit by a Head of Government of Bangladesh to the Netherlands.

Her Majesty Queen Máxima visited Bangladesh on 16-18 November 2015 in her role as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Advocate for Inclusive Finance for Development at the invitation of the Government of Bangladesh. Earlier in June 2015, Her Excellency Ms. Lilianne Ploumen, Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and Her Excellency Ms. Melanie Schultz van Haegen-Maas Geesteranus, Minister of Infrastructure and the Environment undertook a joint-visit to Bangladesh. These visits have provided with an important opportunity to broaden and deepen the existing excellent bilateral relations between our two friendly countries.

The recent signing of several instruments between our two countries in the areas of sustainable delta management under the flagship initiative “Bangladesh Delta Plan 2100”, land reclamation and accretion in Bangladesh and the sharing of knowledge and innovation for sustainable development was a significant achievement in the discourse of our evolving development partnership. Bangladesh also works very closely with the Netherlands in the United Nations and other international forums.

I now take the opportunity to congratulate the Bangladeshi Diaspora living in the Netherlands for their contribution in building and promoting economic and commercial relations between our two friendly countries. I also applaud them for upholding the image of Bangladesh in the Netherlands. I am confident that they would continue their efforts to the strengthening of the excellent ties of friendship and amity between our countries.

I wish to convey our sincere thanks and gratitude to the Government and the people of the Netherlands for their warm hospitality, friendship and understanding and for the excellent cooperation extended to the Embassy and the Bangladesh community in the Netherlands. I am confident that the close friendship and excellent bilateral relations that exist between our two countries will continue to deepen and get stronger in the days ahead.

Finally, on behalf of the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and all the Bangladeshis living in the Netherlands and on my own behalf, I would like to convey our sincere greetings and very best wishes for the long life and good health of His Majesty King Willem-Alexander, Her Majesty Queen Máxima and for His Excellency Prime Minister Mark Rutte. I also like to express our best wishes for the continued peace, progress and prosperity of the people of the Netherlands.

Long live Bangladesh-the Netherlands friendship!”

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