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South Asia needs to boost cooperation to end poverty : Sheikh Hasina

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday urged the South Asian countries to work together in the fight against poverty, describing it as the main enemy in the region.

“We, the countries in this region, should cooperate with each other. Many problems can be solved bilaterally,” she said, reports UNB.

The PM made this remark when Secretary General of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Esala Ruwan Weerakun paid a courtesy call on her at the latter’s official residence Ganobhaban.

He was accompanied by his wife.”The main enemy in South Asian countries is poverty. So, all will have to work for poverty alleviation,” Hasina was quoted as saying by her Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim.

She said when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had visited Kolkata after the Liberation War, he in his speech floated the idea of regional cooperation there, she said.

The SAARC secretary general stressed the need for strengthening the SAARC food bank.

He highly praised Bangladesh for its contribution to SAARC Agriculture Centre.

Weerakun, a Sri Lankan national, said the pandemic is also responsible for the ongoing economic crisis in his country and appreciated the support Bangladesh has extended towards the island nation.

Sri Lanka now needs fertilizer as the rice production dropped by 50 per cent there, he added.

In this context, the premier said Bangladesh, despite being a country of huge population, may provide potatoes to Sri Lanka during this crisis.

She said Bangladesh has taken steps to grow more foods amid the global food problem following the Covid-19 pandemic and Ukraine-Russia war.

Bangladeshi researchers are making efforts to develop different saline- and drought-tolerant varieties of rice, said Hasina.

Earlier, the SAARC official visited Bangabandhu Memorial Museum and commended the great leader’s legacy.

Ambassador at-large Mohammad Ziauddin and PMO senior secretary Md Tofazzel Hossain Miah were present.