FM Hopeful of Signing Teesta Deal

Bangladesh wants enhanced connectivity for development, he says

On Sunday, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen expressed his optimism about signing the Teesta Water Sharing Deal with India, saying it has been ready for signature since 2011.

India reiterates (its commitment) to it regularly. It remains ready to be signed. I believe it will be finished," he told reporters at Rajshahi College, but gave no signing date possible."

He said that because of India's internal factors, the Teesta agreement could not be signed, reports UNB.   

Dr. Momen said that human resources and rivers are very valuable assets, but if they do not ensure the best use of them, it will be a curse for all.

Bangladesh and India operate on 54 common rivers, the Foreign Minister said.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pointed out in October last year that the people of Bangladesh were waiting to see the early signing and implementation of the Interim Agreement Framework for the Sharing of Teesta Waters, as agreed by both governments in 2011.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi informed that his government is working with all stakeholders in India for the conclusion of the agreement at the soonest possible time, according to a 53-point joint statement that termed the relations between the two countries “a bond transcending strategic relationship”.

Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Vikram Kumar Doraiswami has conveyed his government's commitment to finding mutually acceptable solutions to all the issues with Bangladesh.

Teesta Barrage

Bangladesh and India are in discussion to hold a Water Resources Secretary-level meeting in December before the Minister-level talks between the two countries on water issues, officials said.

The two countries expressed optimism to hold a Joint Rivers Commission (JRC) meeting this year to discuss water sharing of common rivers.

Dr Momen said the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will never sign any deal against the interest of the country and its people but will enhance connectivity with India for a win-win situation for both.     

"We will boost connectivity. We say connectivity is productivity. We will boost connectivity on all fronts for development," the Foreign Minister said.

Responding to a question, Dr Momen said the government has planned to shift 100,000 Rohingyas to Bhasan Char for better living with economic opportunities for Rohingyas.

However, no date is fixed yet to relocate them from congested Cox's Bazar camps.

"We wanted to avoid risk of landslides and deaths in Rohingya camps," Dr Momen said.

He hoped that under the Biden administration, the new US government will have a stronger voice on the Rohingya issue.

The Foreign Minister hoped that Bangladesh and the US would see growing trade and investment ties.

In win-win conditions, I think they will come on their own. Bangladesh is a land of opportunity," he said."

Dr Momen said Bangladesh and the US will speak in one voice on climate issues with increased assistance from the US.

The Foreign Minister, responding to a query, said that GSP is not an important problem for Bangladesh as it does not matter in a large way. "It isn't a major concern."

He said, however, that the major issue is over 15 percent of the tariffs levied by the US government on Bangladeshi goods.

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