PM to be in UNGA in person
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will be visiting the US to attend the UN General Assembly scheduled for September 14-26.
This would be her first foreign tour in 20 months.
"Our prime minister will go to the UN General Assembly in person," Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters after a courtesy call by Ji Liming, Chinese Ambassador to Bangladesh, at the State Guesthouse Padma yesterday.
This will be her first foreign visit, which is being considered very important given the coronavirus pandemic, since her Italy visit in February last year. During the pandemic, most bilateral or multilateral events that the PM joined were virtual.
The 76th session of the UNGA, the largest diplomatic event, will be held on a limited scale because of the pandemic, the foreign minister said.
Although the Covid-19 situation in New York is now much better than it was last year, the spread of the Delta variant has caused concern.
However, preparations for the PM's visit are underway, officials said.
The 75th session of the UNGA was held virtually last year -- a rare occurrence in UN's history. Heads of governments and states from various corners of the world had sent their recorded speeches to the event last year.
During his visit to Dhaka in May this year, UN General Assembly President Volkan Bozkır had announced an in-person assembly this year.
Momen said the UNGA this year will be held on a limited scale, with the number of heads of states and governments in attendance yet to be determined.
There will be no side events, but two high-level meetings will be held -- one on nuclear and the other on the global situation -- during 21-26 September.
All health rules will be maintained during the UNGA session, Momen said.
Apart from the formal events at the UNGA, various bilateral meetings are usually held on the sidelines, but that will not be the case this year. There will also not be any in-person meetings with local members of the Bangladesh community, Momen said.
MOU ON CO-PRODUCTION OF SINOVAC SOON
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) will be signed between Bangladesh's health ministry, Incepta Pharmaceuticals and Chinese company Sinopharm for co-production of the vaccine, the minister said.
"We have sent the draft MoU to the health ministry… under the deal, Incepta will get the vaccine in bulk and will then do bottling, labelling and finishing," Momen said.
"It should be done soon because even after starting the work, it will take two months for the pharmaceutical company [to supply to the market]. If delayed, time will be wasted," Momen said.
Presently, Bangladesh is importing Sinopharm vaccine from China under a commercial deal. So far, 70 lakh Sinopharm vaccines of the contracted 1.5 crore have arrived.
China said Bangladesh needed to order in advance if more vaccines are to be imported because there is high demand for Sinopharm vaccines globally. China also said they will ensure smooth supply of the vaccine.
Asked about importing Sputnik vaccine from Russia, Momen said Covid infections in Russia have risen severely and therefore officials are not going to the office. Thus, signing of the MoU on Sputnik import is being delayed.
Bangladesh government had sent a proposal to Russia to purchase 10 million Sputnik V vaccines around a month ago, but Russia is yet to reply.