12:00 AM, October 26, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 26, 2011

Hasina-Merkel Talks

Dhaka, Berlin agree to boost economic ties

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel speaks to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as they review an honour guard during a welcoming ceremony at the chancellery in Berlin yesterday. Photo: AFP

Bangladesh and Germany yesterday agreed to further explore bilateral trade and cooperation in the areas of sustainable development, climate change, health and social safety net programme.
“Our development cooperation is very good. We have discussed how to strengthen our economic ties,'' German Chancellor Angela Merkel told reporters at a joint press conference with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after a luncheon meeting at German Chancellery in the afternoon.
The two leaders also discussed cooperation in renewable energy, and primary and secondary education for the young people of Bangladesh.
The Chancellor praised Hasina for her government's role in tackling the Bangladesh economy despite the global economic downturn.
''Bangladesh economy is on good track,'' Hasina said, adding Bangladesh could not achieve desired level of development since the country had been under military dictators.
On international issues, Merkel said they also discussed developments in India, Pakistan and Myanmar.
Hasina said they had frank, fruitful and in-depth discussions that lasted for one hour.
Describing Germany as a time-tested friend of Bangladesh, Hasina said Germany actively supported Bangladesh's War of Liberation in 1971 and since then “we have been receiving uninterrupted support.''
“I am returning home happily with many promises from a great leader and renewed commitment for supporting my people and working together for bilateral, regional and international cooperation,” the premier said, reports BSS.
Hasina said the two-way bilateral trade between Bangladesh and Germany is excellent, but there is still scope to enhance it further. She praised the Chancellor for successfully handling German economy during the global economic turmoil.
About climate change, Hasina said Bangladesh is the worst affected country due to the adverse impact of the changing climate.
Bangladesh is receiving generous support from the European Union to tackle the climate change, she said.
The premier also recalled her stay in Germany when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman had said ''Germany has a special place in my heart”.
Hasina extended her thanks to Merkel for facilitating the signing of two joint declarations -- one for cooperation in the field of health and the other for climate change.
Asked if they discussed the Padma Bridge funding, Merkel said they discussed overall infrastructure development, not any particular project, reports UNB.
Hasina said infrastructure includes everything and the German Chancellor promised to support infrastructure development in Bangladesh.
The premier invited Merkel to visit Bangladesh at a convenient time, which she gladly accepted.
On her arrival at the Chancellery, the office of German Chancellor, the prime minister was given a red carpet reception and guard of honour.
Hasina arrived in Berlin on October 22 to attend the World Health Summit and bilateral meeting with the German leaders. She is due to return home today after ending her four-day official tour.

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