April 1, 2023, 2:14 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2023-02-06 12:17:21 BdST

Apology from Pakistan publicly for 1971 atrocities first thing to do: Momen

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said Bangladesh wants Pakistan to “seek apology publicly with a formal announcement” for the atrocities perpetrated against unarmed Bangalees in 1971.

“You first need to seek an apology publicly. Otherwise, I have a political reason….if it (apology publicly) happens first, I can argue for you. Otherwise, it will be very difficult for me. I can’t do that. It’s pure and simple,” he told reporters sharing what he conveyed to State Minister for Foreign Affairs of Pakistan Hina Rabbani Khan.

Talking to media at State guesthouse Padma, Momen said Pakistan wants to enhance relations with Bangladesh but Bangladesh reminded that seeking apology publicly is the first thing to do.

Hina Rabbani had a meeting with Minister Momen in Sri Lanka's capital city Colombo on Saturday.

Momen visited Sri Lanka as a guest for the country's 75th Independence Day celebrations, for which the guest list was filled up mostly by neighbouring countries at the foreign minister level.

Responding to a question, Foreign Minister Momen said the Pakistan State Minister did not make any direct reply to his remarks but mentioned that they have some limitations.

The Foreign Minister said if there is an issue of improving relations between Bangladesh and Pakistan that must begin with working in the economic area.

He urged the Pakistan State Minister to withdraw the restrictions to make the trade relations fairly balanced.

Momen, along with other South Asian ministers, attended the "Independence Parade" featuring march-past, fly-by, and parachute display by the joint forces at the Galle Face Green in Colombo Saturday.

State Minister for Foreign Affairs of India V Muraleedharan also met the foreign minister of Bangladesh.

They discussed the upcoming bilateral visits and issues of mutual interest and emphasised trade and commerce for the benefit of the people of the two countries.

All the ministers from South Asian countries appreciated the current government under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the continued economic advancement of Bangladesh.

On Saturday evening, Momen attended a reception hosted by the Sri Lankan President in honour of visiting foreign ministers/dignitaries from other South Asian countries – namely, India, Nepal, Bhutan, and Pakistan – and the secretary general of the Commonwealth as well as state minister for foreign affairs of Japan.

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