PM leaves for Saudi Arabia

A special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her entourage departs from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport for Saudi Arabia on a five-day visit to the kingdom at the invitation of the Saudi King on June 3, 2016. Star file photo

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has left for Saudi Arabia this afternoon on a five-day visit to the kingdom at the invitation of the Saudi King.

A special flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the prime minister and her entourage departed from Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport around 4:15 pm, Asif Kabir, assistant press secretary of the premier, told The Daily Star.

The prime minister is expected to reach the Kingdom around 8:00pm Saudi time, he added.

Hasina will hold bilateral meeting with Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on June 5. They will discuss issues ranging from manpower to the fight against terrorism and violent extremism.

Diplomatic sources said the prime minister would place a number of proposals for consideration by the Saudi King, which includes full opening of labour market, particularly for male workers, seeking Saudi investment for development of major infrastructure in Bangladesh, further increasing of Saudi assistance and investment, increasing imports from Bangladesh, among other things.

Officials said several deals in the areas of investment, education and cultural cooperation are expected to be signed.

Sources said the PM is expected to welcome the Saudi initiative to form a 34-nation coalition of like-minded Islamic countries to fight terrorism, but at the same time she will cite the government's policy that requires a UN approval for its participation in any military operation of the alliance.

“Bangladesh will consider sending troops to Saudi Arabia only if UN Security Council approves it and in case the two holy mosques face threats,” said a foreign ministry official.

Sources in the foreign ministry said Hasina during her meeting with the Saudi King and other high officials would express interest in enhancing defence cooperation with the Kingdom.

The prime minister will also meet Crown Prince and Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad bin Naif bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud and Deputy Crown Prince and second Deputy Prime Minister Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud.

Besides, she is expected to meet important members of Saudi royal family, investors and expatriate Bangladeshis.


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