I am delighted to join you in celebrating the 40th anniversary of Bangladesh’s membership in the United Nations.
Allow me to offer a personal recollection. In 1973, as a Foreign Service officer posted in New Delhi, I was part of the team that was responsible for establishing my country’s diplomatic ties with Bangladesh. When I visited for the visit time, I was deeply humbled by what I saw, because your country reminded me so much of mine at the end of the Korean War. There were so many shortages I had to tear small strips of paper for my counterpart at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for him to be able to write me a memo!
At the same time, despite the poverty, destruction and human misery there was a burning determination to build a new country.
I have made many visits since. Each time, I have been struck by the enormous progress that has been made.
Bangladesh has built a thriving economy and made important gains towards the Millennium Development Goals. The frugality and common purpose I witnessed 40 years ago have been driving forces in this great success. I particularly commend the work that Bangladesh has accomplished in disaster risk reduction at a time of climate change. And of course, Bangladesh is one of the top contributors to United Nations peacekeeping.
I am pleased that the dream of “Shonar Bangla”[Golden Bengal] that Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had for his country is steadily becoming a reality.
It is a special pleasure to congratulate Bangladesh and its people for their achievements and its efforts as a dynamic UN Member State. The United Nations and I look forward to deepening this relationship in our shared pursuit of peace, development and human rights for all.