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Bangladesh premier visits London to attend Girl Summit

Jul 21, 2014

The Prime Minister will lead a 20-member high-powered Bangladesh delegation at the first-ever Girl Summit to be held in the British capital.

Dhaka: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina left here this morning for London on a three-day official visit to the United Kingdom to attend the first-ever Girl Summit.

The Bangladesh Premier is going to the UK at the invitation of her British counterpart David Cameron and UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

The Prime Minister will lead a 20-member high-powered Bangladesh delegation at the first-ever Girl Summit to be held in the British capital on Tuesday.

A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying Sheikh Hasina and members of her entourage took off from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport here at 9.45 am.

Deputy Leader of the House Syeda Sajeda Chowdhury, Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Civil Aviation and Tourism Minister Rashed Khan Menon, PM's Advisor HT Imam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and Chief Whip of the Jatiya Sangsad ASM Feroze were present at the airport, among others, to see off the Prime Minister.

Besides, Cabinet Secretary M Musharraf Hossain Bhuiyan, the chiefs of three services, the dean of the diplomatic corps and high civil and military officials were present. The flight is scheduled to reach Heathrow International Airport in London at about 3 pm (London time).

Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Mijarul Quayes and representatives from the British government would receive the Bangladesh Premier at the airport.

After the warm welcome at the airport, the Prime Minister will be taken to London Hilton Hotel through a ceremonial motorcade where she will be staying during her visit.

This will be Sheikh Hasina's first visit to any European country after the January 5 elections in Bangladesh.

The UK government and the UNICEF are jointly hosting the first-ever Girl Summit aimed at mobilising domestic and international efforts to end Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child, Early and Forced Marriage (CEFM) within a generation.

The meeting will also help end early and forced marriage of girls, prevent violence against women, deliver their babies safely, get jobs, have education and supporting legal reforms to land and inheritance rights.

Including Bangladesh, representatives from 52 countries across the globe will join the summit.

The Prime Minister is scheduled to attend the high-level session of the summit and interact with First Lady of Burkina Faso Chantal Compaore and Pakistan's famous education activist Malala Yousafzai at Walworth Academy.

The session would be moderated by UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.

During the visit, the Bangladesh Premier will hold bilateral talks with her British counterpart David Cameron at 10 Downing Street where she is expected to discuss issues relating to bilateral and multilateral interest.

Apart from meeting with her British counterpart, Sheikh Hasina will hold meetings with a number of British ministers and shadow ministers of the opposition parties in parliament.

They include, International Development Affairs Minister Justine Greenigs and Shadow Foreign Minister Dauglas Alexander.

Before departing for home on Wednesday, the Prime Minister will attend a community programme of Bangladeshi expatriates living in the UK.

She is expected to return home on Thursday morning.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, State Minister for Women and Children Affairs Meher Afroz, Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque and Press Secretary AKM Shameem Chowdhury, among others, would accompany the Premier during her visit.

At the summit, Bangladesh is set to highlight its firm commitment to eliminate child marriage by incorporating its various steps.

Officials said the delegation members will project the government steps taken or to be taken to address the issue of child marriage for taking the country forward.

Briefing reporters at his office on Sunday, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said that the visit of the Prime Minister to London would be a crucial one as the UK is an important development partner of Bangladesh and the people of that country had played an important role in favour of Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971.

Responding to a query, the foreign minister said different bilateral and multilateral issues would come up for discussion in the meeting of the two Prime Ministers.


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