Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen emphasised collective efforts by ASEAN leaders in tackling regional challenges.
"We hope that under the dynamic leadership of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the developing countries of this region shall come forward with good governance and stronger economies," he said, addressing the 28th ARF meeting virtually on Friday.
The meeting was hosted by Negara Brunei Darussalam, the current chair of the ARF,with the theme of "We Care, We Prepare, We Prosper".
In his speech, the foreign minister assured the sustained support of Bangladesh for ARF initiatives.
Momen and other foreign ministers had a substantive exchange of views on possible areas of collaboration and cooperation, such as the Rohingya refugee crisis, climate change, nuclear proliferation, cyber security, and other regional issues.
Presenting an overview of Bangladesh's role in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, he expressed hope that vaccines would be available to all countries at an affordable price.
Dr Momen said, although Bangladesh is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention, it is providing shelter to 1.1 million Rohingya refugees solely on humanitarian grounds. "But, sacrificing 6,800 acres of her forest land, Bangladesh is not in a position to shoulder the burden for an indefinite period," he added.
The foreign minister sought the support of ASEAN member states in solving the Rohingya crisis to minimize the impact on climate in this region. ARF member states, including Australia, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, USA, and the European Union, agreed on solving the Rohingya issue as soon as possible.
They urged the safe, sustainable and dignified repatriation of the Rohingyas to their homeland.
Momen marked disarmament as a hallmark of Bangladesh's peace-centric foreign policy. Mandated by a constitutional obligation of seeking complete disarmament and settling disputes through peaceful means, Bangladesh has always intentionally restrained from an arms race and armament, he mentioned.
"Since becoming a member of the UN, Bangladesh has always been playing an active role in UN's disarmament diplomacy. As a member of the UN Security Council for two terms, 1979-1980 and 2000-2001, Bangladesh was particularly active in international disarmament efforts, reaffirming its strong commitment to the adherence of international disarmament norms, treaties, and instruments," he added.
He called for united action by world leaders to accelerate implementation of the Paris Agreement to advance global climate progress.
ASEAN is a multilateral regional platform that aspires to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region, promoting regional peace and stability.
Dr Momen led the Bangladesh delegation in the 28th ARF meeting.
Foreign Ministers, Deputy Foreign Ministers, and other delegates of the 26 ARF Member States participated in the meeting. The meeting was chaired by the Foreign Minister of Brunei, Dato Erywan Pehin Yousof.
The meeting ended with issuing of the Chairman's Statement of the 28th ARF.