Dhaka, Riyadh to work together for world peace
Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia yesterday pledged to work together for global peace, development and welfare of the Muslim Ummah.
The pledges were made when Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina visited Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and held a meeting with him at Al Salam Palace at Al Andalus in Jeddah.
“The prime minister and the Saudi King agreed to work together to explore the potentials of cooperation that exists in the fields of development, trade and commerce as well as increasing people-to-people contact between the two countries,” Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told a news briefing after an hour-long meeting between the two leaders.
PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim also joined him in briefing newsmen.
They said the talks were held in a very warm and cordial atmosphere where entire gamut of bilateral interest, regional and international issues was discussed and reviewed.
The PM is now in Saudi Arabia on a five-day official visit at the invitation of the Saudi King.
During the talks, the foreign secretary said, the Saudi King told the PM that his country “considers Bangladesh as a top Islamic country” and “Bangladesh is also an important country in the Muslim world.”
“The Saudi King uttered this word twice,” Haque said, adding that the King also acknowledged Dhaka of playing a big role in world peace, progress and development.
The King, he said, appreciated Bangladesh's decision to join the Islamic alliance to fight terrorism and violent extremism.
There are two parts in this concept of the alliance -- military and political, he said, adding: “It entirely depends on Bangladesh in which part it [would take part] . . . it [military participation] is not mandatory, it's voluntarily. We are only happy over Bangladesh's joining in the alliance,” Haque quoted the King as saying.
Bangladesh last year joined the Saudi-led 34-nation military alliance that was formed to combat terrorism.
Reviewing Hasina's Saudi visit, the foreign secretary said it not only opened up a new chapter in the field of bilateral ties but also took the relationship to a new height.
“A comprehensive relationship has developed through the tour of the premier which we did not see earlier,” he said, adding that the tour gained more significance as Dhaka was committed to work with Saudi Arabia for promoting peace, stability and development of the world.
The two leaders, Haque said, raised a strong voice against terrorism and violent extremism through Islamic alliance during the talks.
The foreign secretary and the press secretary said the two leaders also made a commitment to work together to remove instability and insecurity that now exist in the world.
The Saudi King said that his country values the participation of Bangladesh in the Islamic alliance, and through this a far-reaching strategic relationship has been developed between the two countries.
The PM said there is a special place of Saudi Arabia in the heart of Bangladeshis as the two holy mosques exist in Makkah and Madina and Saudi Arabia is the birthplace of Prophet Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH).
She said: “We will have to work to reach the real message of Islam so that no one can gain benefit by misinterpreting Islam.” In this connection, she told the King that she wants to build 560 Islamic centres across the country to spread the message of peace of Islam among all. “Through this we want to establish a peaceful, progressive and harmonious Bangladesh,” the PM said.
In reply, the Saudi King expressed happiness over the concept in establishing Islamic centres. “We are very happy over her concept and we want to cooperate in this regard,” the King said, adding that he would send senior ministers to Bangladesh to see the matter.
The premier mentioned the establishment of Islamic Arabic University in Dhaka and said through this she wants to promote Islam, culture and Arabic language in true spirit among the students of the university to remove worldwide propaganda against Islam.
Hasina said her government has already developed digital version of the holy Quran in Bangla, Arabic and English languages so that the younger generation could learn the Quran easily.
Listening this, the King became very happy and assured Bangladesh of extending cooperation in this regard, the foreign secretary and press secretary said.