The Policy Times, Dhaka Bureau :
Bangladesh and Maldives Thursday (18th March) agreed to establish a direct commercial shipping link between Malé and three seaports of Bangladesh through signing a Shipping Agreement.
The two countries also agreed to expedite the finalization of the proposed Agreement on Customs Cooperation and the signing of the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation.
This was revealed while Bangladesh foreign minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen along with his visiting Maldivian foreign minister Abdulla Shahid speaking at a joint media briefing to disclose the outcomes of the bilateral meeting between Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Maldivians president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, held 18th March (Thursday) morning.
during the meeting,
“The two leaders (Sheikh Hasina and Mohammed Solih) particularly stressed the need for harnessing bilateral trade potential to its fullest extent,” he said at the briefing held at Hotel Intercontinental at Dhaka Thursday afternoon.
In this regard, Bangladesh foreign Minister Dr. Momen said, Bangladesh expressed its keenness to enter into a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the Maldives like the country did with Bhutan earlier.
Bangladesh and the Maldives today (Thursday 18th March) signed four Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) to boost cooperation between the two countries in different areas including fisheries and cultural affairs.
The MoUs were signed at the Bangladesh Prime Minister’s Office in the capital in presence of Bangladesh premier Sheikh Hasina and Maldivian President Ibrahim
Mohamed Solih after the talk of the two leaders.
The foreign minister said, during today’s talk, the Bangladesh premier and Maldivian president reviewed the entire gamut of the relations and agreed to expand mutual cooperation in multiple prospective areas.
The areas include trade, commerce and investment, the welfare of the Bangladesh expatriates community in the Maldives, marine resources, fisheries, tourism, air and maritime connectivity, climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Besides, issues related to human resources youth development, education, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, agriculture, culture, people to people contacts and disaster management were also disused.
Dr. Momen said Bangladesh expressed its willingness to offer training courses to the Maldivian peacekeepers at the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operations Training (BIPSOT).
The foreign minister said Bangladesh Prime Minister appreciated the Maldivian president’s declaration that all expatriates in the Maldives would be vaccinated free of cost.
On the climate change issue, the two leaders agreed to closely work together in various multilateral platforms, including in the UN and the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF).
Maldivian foreign minister Abdulla Shahid said the Maldives will continue to engage with the Bangladesh government and other countries to ensure accountability of the atrocity committed on the Rohingya people.
Abdulla Shahid said the Maldivian president lauded the generosity of the people of Bangladesh in offering shelter to huge numbers of displaced Rohingyas.
He said Maldives and Bangladesh expressed their commitment to work together for peace security and prosperity in the region and the Indian Ocean.
The Maldivian foreign minister said his country will ensure the wellbeing of Bangladeshi expatriate workers in its islands.
“President Solih thanked Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for mobilizing support to the Maldives during the pandemic, including for the deployment of an 18-member medical team to assist vaccination drive in the Maldives,” he said.
Maldivian President also commended Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visionary leadership and phenomenal success in marching towards transforming Bangladesh into a developed country by 2041.