He, together with envoys of India, US, Japan, Italy pay tribute to victims of Holey Artisan attack

Expressing solidarity with the victims of Holey Artisan Bakery attack and their families, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Monday said the government of Bangladesh has remained steadfast in its commitment to work towards a "peaceful" Bangladesh for all, especially for the foreign friends.

"We reaffirm our government's commitment to work together with the people and the governments of Italy, Japan, India and the USA as well the world community to fight this menace," he said while paying tribute to the victims of July 1, 2016 terror attack at Holey Artisan Bakery together with the envoys of India, the United States, Japan and Italy.

Speaking at a commemorative event at the residence of Italian Ambassador Antonio Alessandro, Momen said Bangladesh has already employed several hard and soft approaches, including intelligence-led operation, continuous surveillance on suspected terrorists and arresting or detaining them to deal with the threat of violent extremism, as well as seeking to address the process of radicalization along with community engagement.

Director General for Italian Citizens Abroad of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Luigi Vignali, representing the Italian government, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori also paid tribute to the victims of Holey Artisan attack through the deposition of floral wreaths.

On that tragic day in 2016, the appalling terrorist attack took away the individual lives of nine Italian, seven Japanese, two Bangladeshis, one US-Bangladeshi, and one Indian citizen and injured many others.

They also solemnly remembered the Bangladeshi law enforcement officials, who were killed or injured responding to this despicable terrorist attack.

"We pay our homage to the memories of the supreme sacrifices of the 20 innocent individuals and two police officers. They will always have a special place in our hearts and our prayers," said the foreign secretary who served at Bangladesh missions in Japan, Italy and the USA.

He said the government of Bangladesh has always stood in solidarity with the victims and their families.

Bangladesh's response to this tragic incident had been incessant, till the verdict of the landmark trial, which brought the perpetrators to justice, he said.

"The very tragic incident has helped us renew our commitments towards elimination of terrorism from our society. We have made significant strides in combating terrorism and preventing violent extremism in recent years, in conformity with our government's zero tolerance approach as announced by our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina," the FS added.

He said the government remains committed to upholding religious harmony and peaceful co-existence in the multi-cultural society against the misguided objectives of any radical or reactionary elements.

"On this solemn occasion, we also reiterate our sincere appreciation to Italy, Japan, India and the USA to remain firmly committed to contributing to o9ur aspiration to become a knowledge-based, modern and climate resilient Smart Bangladesh by 2041," said the foreign secretary.

DG Luigi Vignali said he is here to pay tribute to the victims and their families; and also reaffirm their strong bonding and friendship with Bangladesh. "We stand together."

He appreciated Bangladesh's efforts in addressing the issue and said they will build the bridges of better future by working together.

High Commissioner Pranay Verma and his wife paid floral tributes to the victims, including an Indian national, who lost their lives in the carnage on July 1 eight years ago.

"As a close friend and partner of Bangladesh, we fully share the grief and trauma brought by that barbaric and senseless act of violence, and commit ourselves to prevent recurrence of such incidents, through close cooperative efforts with Bangladesh and with all our partners," said the High Commissioner.

Earlier, the diplomats including Ambassador of Italy Antonio Alessandro, Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Pranay Verma, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas and Japanese Ambassador to Bangladesh Iwama Kiminori paid tribute to the victims of the Holey Artisan attack through the deposition of floral wreaths this morning.

They also paid tribute to the victims of the attack at Diplomatic Police Headquarters. Tribute was paid by the DMP Commissioner too.

The international community commends Bangladesh's efforts to bring those responsible to justice and recommit to their strong partnership to prevent future attacks.

Representatives of the families of the victims and victims' friends from the expatriate community in Dhaka were also present.

The threats of violent extremism in Bangladesh has "subsided significantly" since the Holey Artisan attack due to the "whole of society" approach of the government to prevent violent extremism (PVE).

The ambassador of Italy to Bangladesh praised Bangladesh's accomplishments in particular the community based approach to PVE.

In an event last month, he said that Bangladesh drew lessons from the Holey Artisan Bakery attack and aptly translated them into action.

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