Dhaka, Riyadh to cooperate in fighting terror
Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have expressed their firm resolve to cooperate in the fight against terrorism and extremism through meaningful cooperation.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, who met his Saudi counterpart Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in Riyadh on Wednesday, discussed the issue at a meeting, according to a foreign ministry press release issued yesterday.
However, neither of the governments released any details on how they would cooperate to combat terrorism.
Bangladesh joined as a founder member of the Saudi Arabia-led 34-nation Islamic Military Coalition, and there was indication that the foreign minister was due to discuss details about the alliance, its mandate, how it will function, operate, and coordinate.
But the foreign ministry press release did not mention anything about the discussion on the Islamic alliance. Ali paid a three-day visit to Saudi Arabia from January 5-7.
The press release said the two foreign ministers reviewed “the whole gamut of bilateral relations between the two countries as well as exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, including mutual cooperation at the UN and other international fora, including the OIC”.
It said both the ministers “agreed to work on a number of instruments for cooperation on investment, culture and education, agriculture etc” ahead of the probable visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina so that “those could be signed during the visit”.
At the meeting, Minister Adel al-Jubeir lauded the role of the Bangladesh community in the Kingdom which is contributing to economic development of both nations, the release said, adding that he also agreed to have further cooperation in recruiting more skilled and semi-skilled workers, including doctors and nurses, from Bangladesh.
In this regard, both the foreign ministers agreed that a delegation from the Saudi health ministry “may undertake a visit to Bangladesh to inspect the medical degrees and other facilities for future recruitment of Bangladeshi health professionals”.
Minister Mahmood Ali briefed about recent developments in Bangladesh as well as “described the pool of quality workers and world class export items such as RMG and pharmaceutical products for their possible export to the Kingdom”, the press release added.
“[The] Saudi foreign minister was convinced that Saudi businessmen can explore further opportunities in trade and investment in Bangladesh and they can visit Bangladesh to see the facilities of pharmaceutical industry,” it said.
The release also said Adel al-Jubeir “directed the concerned high officials of the ministry present in the meeting to advise their embassy in Dhaka to issue business visa to Bangladeshi businessmen”.
“Both agreed to work for opening of branches by Bangladeshi commercial banks in Saudi Arabia which would be helpful for boosting trade and investments between the countries.”
The two ministers also agreed to sign an MOU on Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) between the two countries during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to the Kingdom sometime between March and May.
Saudi deputy foreign ministers of different divisions were present at the bilateral meeting.
From the Bangladesh side Ambassador Golam Moshi, Deputy Chief of Mission Nazrul Islam, Consul General of the Bangladesh consulate in Jeddah Shahidul Karim, and Director of the Foreign Minister's Office Asif Rahman were present.