Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday put emphasis on strengthening connectivity with all neighbours for the sake of development of this region.
“Connectivity is very important with all neighbours. We’re expanding the connectivity and even reopening the routes that were closed down after the 1965 India-Pakistan war,” she said when Nepalese Ambassador to Bangladesh Dr Banshidhar Mishra met her at her Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban office.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
Noting that Bangladesh developed its airports, the Prime Minister said people of the neighbouring countries, living near the borders, can take the opportunity to travel abroad using these airports. “We’re trying to open air link with the USA and Canada,” she said.
She said Nepal and Bhutan can use Saidpur Airport, and Mongla and Payra seaports.
Bhutan was also given offer to find out a place to make a warehouse for goods imported through the ports, Sheikh Hasina said.
Mentioning that Bangladesh shares an excellent relation with Nepal, she recalled Nepal’s support to Bangladesh during the 1971 Liberation War.
Nepalese Ambassador Dr Banshidhar Mishra said their country wants to establish a comprehensive connectivity with Bangladesh. “The BBIN Motor Vehicle Agreement is now on tract,” he said.
He put emphasis on increasing the trade between Nepal and Bangladesh, particularly commodity trade.
Dr Banshidhar Mishra lauded Sheikh Hasina for her leadership to develop Bangladesh. “You’re honoured and highly revered in Nepal. The Nepalese people praise your leadership. We follow your country,” he said.
He said Sheikh Hasina’s leadership is an example for Nepal to follow as Bangladesh is progressing through struggles under her leadership.
Noting that both Nepal and Bangladesh share similar culture, the Nepalese ambassador recalled Bangladesh’s support to Nepal during earthquake, calling it a great support.
He also handed over an invitation letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to attend Sagarmatha (mountain) dialogue to be held in Kathmandu in April next.
Nepal will host the first edition of the Sagarmatha Dialogue, to be held on April 2-4 in Kathmandu with the participation of some 250 people, including experts and heads of state and government, from some 40 countries aiming at steering global discourse on climate change towards the Himalayas.
PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus was present at the meeting.
Visiting Qatar State Minister for Foreign Affairs Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi on Sunday said their country wants to hire skilled manpower like physicians and engineers from Bangladesh.
“We want to take skilled manpower like physicians, engineers and others from Bangladesh,” he said during a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her Jatiya Sangsad Bhaban office.
PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.
“We’ve many unexplored areas of cooperation…we’ve to explore these areas,” the Qatar state minister said.
He said Qatar wants cooperation in education sector between the two countries.
About the Rohingya crisis, Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi said their country will continue its support to Bangladesh over the Rohingya issue.
He appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for Bangladesh’s graduation from the group of least developed countries to a developing country under her leadership. “We’re following the implementation of your development programmes,” he said.
The Qatari state minister said they want Bangladesh to play a major role in the region and the Muslim world. “We don’t want others to interfere in our internal affairs. You (Sheikh Hasina) are the symbol of the Muslim world in this regard.”
The Prime Minister invited Qatar to invest in Bangladesh, saying land will be given to the Qatar investors as now 100 economic zones are being established across the country.
Sheikh Hasina invited the Emir of Qatar to visit Bangladesh during the ‘Mujib Borsho’, saying Bangladesh will be happy to receive him during the birth centenary celebrations of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Noting that education is the key to development, she said her government is giving importance to technical and vocational education. “We want to establish a poverty-free Bangladesh,” she said, adding that her government brought down the poverty rate to 20.5 percent in the country.
The Prime Minister said Bangladesh gives importance to its relations with Muslim countries. “Together we can explore the areas for development,” she said.
Over the Rohingya issue, she said, “How long can we keep these Rohingyas (in Bangladesh)? It’s a burden on our economy.”
Sheikh Hasina said Myanmar has not yet initiated the repatriation process although it agreed to take back its nationals from Bangladesh.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, PM’s Principal Secretary Dr Ahmad Kaikaus and Qatar Ambassador to Bangladesh Ahmed Mohammed Nasser Al-Dehaimi were present at the meeting.
The first Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between Bangladesh and Qatar will be held in the city on Monday.
The meeting will begin at 10:30am at State guesthouse Meghna.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and his Qatari counterpart Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhi will lead the Bangladesh and Qatari sides respectively at the FOC, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Bangladesh and Algeria have expressed willingness to strengthen bilateral ties for enhanced substantive cooperation in the fields of trade and commerce, socioeconomic development and people-to-people contacts to the mutual benefits of the two countries.
Bangladesh hoped that the reopening of the Algerian mission in Dhaka on the eve of the birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and of the Golden Jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence will usher in newer avenues of bilateral cooperation.
Newly appointed Ambassador of Algeria to Bangladesh Rabah Larbi met Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam on Sunday at their respective offices at the Foreign Ministry following his recent presentation of credentials to President Md Abdul Hamid.
Both the ministers welcomed the new ambassador and assured him of all-out cooperation in discharging his duties, particularly in facilitating the reopening process of the new Algerian mission in Dhaka.
They appreciated the Algerian government’s decision in reopening their resident diplomatic mission in Dhaka in reciprocity of reopening of the Bangladesh mission in Algeria in 2016.
Dr Momen and Shahriar recalled with happiness the historic visit of Bangabandhu to Algeria to attend the Fourth NAM Summit in September 1973 and appreciated the Algerian government’s gesture in preserving the honoured memory of Bangabandhu’s historic visit through dedicating a corner in the Palace of Nations in Algiers for displaying his pictures and sayings.
They recalled with gratitude that Algeria was among the first Arab countries to accord political recognition to Bangladesh by sponsoring Bangladesh’s admission into the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) during the Fourth NAM Summit held in Algiers in 1973, according to the Foreign Ministry.
The ministers reminisced about the close friendship between Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and then Algerian President Huari Boumedienne and expressed the hope that their legacy will be followed to revitalise the bilateral relations through increased interaction and engagement.
The new ambassador emphasised on further consolidating bilateral relations, especially through holding political consultations and boosting economic and trade linkages.
He showed interest in importing quality products from Bangladesh, including pharmaceuticals, jute and jute products, readymade garments and other consumer goods.
The foreign minister urged the Algerian ambassador to explore opportunities for cooperation in energy, air connectivity and skilled manpower, among other potential sectors, and emphasised on the importance of exchange of visits both at public and and private sector levels to reap the benefit of people-to-contacts.
Bangladesh has urged Indonesia to remain pro-active in the Asean platform to convince Myanmar for creating a conducive environment for a safe, dignified and sustainable repatriation of the Rohingyas.
Foreign Minister DR AK Abdul Momen discussed the issue when Indonesian Ambassador to Bangladesh Rina Prihtyasmiarsi Soemarno met him at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Sunday.
Dr Momen suggested that an Asean-led observer team may be deployed in Rakhine State to oversee the repatriation process.
The Ambassador assured to remain engaged on the issue and continue Indonesia’s support for a durable solution to the crisis, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The Foreign Minister thanked Indonesia for the humanitarian support extended to the Rohingyas and sought political support from Indonesia on the repatriation issue.
Dr Momen invited Indonesia’s Prime Minister and President to visit Bangladesh this year to celebrate the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
The Ambassador also invited Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to visit Indonesia.
Terming Indonesia as Bangladesh’s important bilateral trading partner, Dr Momen suggested that the imbalance in trade could be reduced if Indonesia invests in Bangladesh where a business friendly environment is prevailing.
He mentioned that the purchasing power of Bangladesh’s growing middle class has enhanced significantly in recent decades and also Bangladesh is surrounded by two giant economies of India and China.
The Indonesian Ambassador agreed that Bangladesh has attained “miraculous” economic progress and appreciated the Bangladeshi technicians and professionals who work in the IT sector in Indonesia.
She hoped that Bangladesh would invest more in garments and processed food sector in Indonesia.
The Bangladesh Foreign Minister noted that Bangladesh’s pharmaceutical products meet 97 percent of local demands and are exported to 144 countries.
He requested Indonesia to ease the registration process for Bangladeshi pharmaceutical products in Indonesia.
He noted that world class life saving drugs are available in Bangladesh at a much cheaper price than in the advanced countries.