Bangladesh believes its relations with Bahrain has taken a ‘new turn’ following a visit there by foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali.
Ali, who reached Bahrain on Monday for a three-day official visit, has comprehensive discussions covering a wide spectrum of issues with his Bahraini counterpart Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa.
On Tuesday he also met the Prime Minister, the Crown Prince, the Finance Minister and the Minister for Labour and Social Affairs, the foreign ministry said.
He also signed two agreements with the finance minister related to trade and investment — on the Reciprocal Protection and Promotion of Investment and on the Avoidance of Double Taxation.
He also signed a MoU on foreign office consultation with his Bahraini counterpart after the official talks.
The foreign ministry said the bilateral meeting with his counterpart after a long hiatus marked “a turning point” in Bangladesh-Bahrain relations.
Ali discussed the whole gamut of Bangladesh-Bahrain bilateral relations at length in that meeting.
They acknowledged the “excellent” cooperative relations at the regional and international level and stressed on a stronger bilateral ties.
The two foreign ministers discussed various regional developments in the Middle East and coordinated their positions on regional issues.
The Bahraini foreign minister proposed Bangladesh to start a “Strategic Dialogue” with the Gulf Cooperation Council, to which Ali responded positively.
The Council is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of all Arab states of the Persian Gulf.
Both sides also agreed to hold a single country exhibition on Bangladeshi Products to be held in Manama coinciding with a proposed visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Bahrain early next year.
During that visit, a number of key agreements are expected to be signed, the foreign ministry said.
Bahrain, located at a strategic location in the heart of the Gulf, is a manpower destination for Bangladesh.
Over 150,000 Bangladeshis are working there — a sizeable number of them illegally.
During his meeting with labour minister Jamil bin Mohammed Ali Humaidan, Ali underscored the need “to firmly adhere to a policy to legalise a few thousands undocumented Bangladeshi workers”.
Those workers were designated as ‘Guest Worker’ by the Bahraini leadership as an amnesty period was going on.
The Labour minister expressed his ‘willingness’ to clear the bilateral document on labour recruitment from Bangladesh.
Ali invited him to visit Bangladesh to which he responded positively.
During his meeting with Finance Minister Shaikh Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, both sides were optimistic to further deepen the bilateral trade and investment relations.
They also discussed possible modes of cooperation of mutual interest in the fields of infrastructure communication network, joint venture projects in pharmaceuticals, food processing plants, garments and textiles.
Ali conveyed Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s greetings when he met Bahrain Prime Minister Khalifa Bin Salman Al Khalifa at the Royal Court in Manama.
He praised Hasina’s leadership and Bangladesh’s socio-economic development.
Ali also paid a courtesy call on the Crown Prince, also First Deputy Prime Minister and Deputy Supreme Commander of Bahrain, Shaikh Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa.
Their talks centred round opportunities for bilateral cooperation in the human resource training for civil and military personnel, efforts in countering terrorism and violent extremism as well as furthering trade and investment, the foreign ministry said.
The foreign minister also interacted with the expatriate Bangladesh community and gave interviews to Bahrain media.
Source: Bd news24