Hasina may meet Trump in S Arabia | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, May 20, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 02:49 AM, May 20, 2017

Hasina may meet Trump in S Arabia

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and US President Donald Trump are expected to meet for the first time in Saudi Arabia tomorrow, diplomatic sources say.

Hasina is expected to reach Saudi Arabia today for the Arab-Islamic-American Summit, which will see leaders from across the world.

Diplomatic sources in Dhaka and Riyadh say Hasina and Trump would meet during the summit to be held at King Abdul Aziz Convention Centre tomorrow.

Trump and the world's Islamic nations' leaders would meet at the summit to find the way of building more strong and effective security partnerships to counter and prevent the growing threats of terrorism and violent extremism.

Hasina is expected to highlight Bangladesh's recent success in combating terrorism and extremism and her country's stance against this global problem.

The sources say there have been efforts from Bangladesh to hold a brief bilateral meeting between Hasina and Trump on the sidelines of the event.

However, a Bangladeshi diplomat in Riyadh told The Daily Star yesterday that there was no separate meeting with Trump as of now. “In fact, there is no space. All leaders will meet each other at the summit anyway,” the diplomat added.

Asked about any possible meeting with Trump and other world leaders on the sidelines of the summit, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Thursday said, “Let's see."

During the three-day event, there will be three summits in Riyadh -- Saudi-US Summit, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)-US Summit and Arab-Islamic-American Summit.

The Saudi king had earlier invited the leaders of the member countries of the Saudi-led 41-nation Islamic Military Alliance to Fight Terrorism (IMAFT) to those summits.

Bangladesh is one of the founding members of IMAFT but announced not to send ground troops to fight against any country. However, Dhaka gave the commitment to Riyadh that it would remain ready to send troops to the Kingdom if the security of the two holy mosques is threatened.

The recent appointment of former army chief of Pakistan General Raheel Sharif in command of the coalition has apparently frustrated Bangladesh.

Highly-placed government sources say most of the government policymakers have strongly opposed to joining the IMAFT under a Pakistani general.

“It's a bit premature to call it a coalition. It's still evolving. Nothing is done in written yet. It's still under discussion,” the foreign minister told a press conference in Dhaka on Thursday.

He maintained that Bangladesh was talking about centre -- Global Centre for Combating Extremist Thoughts -- not coalition.

Besides the summits, Saudi Arabia would also host an event of the Riyadh Forum on Countering Extremism and Fighting Terrorism today. The King Faisal Centre for Research and Islamic Studies brings together researchers and institutions to sustain, produce and disseminate academic work as well as to enrich the cultural and intellectual life in the Kingdom.

Sponsored by the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition (IMCTC), the forum would explore the nature of terrorism and the future of extremism.

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