Bangladesh seats for high-level talks with Saudi Arabia

The high-level dialogue kicked off at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday with a Saudi delegation led by the kingdom’s foreign minister, Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud.

His counterpart AK Abdul Momen leads the Bangladeshi delegation.

The two foreign ministers met one-on-one at the same location ahead of the joint consultation.

“We are committed to a stable oil market,” Prince Faisal said in response to a media question about Bangladesh’s good oil supply after the meeting.

“There is no concern about the oil supply.”

Following the talks, Prince Faisal will launch the construction of an Arabic language institute in Keraniganj via videoconference.

He is due to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the afternoon before leaving for the Gulf state.

The officials said Saudi investments in Bangladesh, military cooperation, passport for Rohingya refugees in Saudi Arabia and other bilateral issues will be discussed during the meetings.

Bangladesh had signed a memorandum of understanding on military cooperation with the kingdom in 2019. Officials said the two sides would discuss furthering such cooperation.

Bangladesh will also discuss the Saudi labor market, the most important for Bangladeshi workers.

“In addition to these, we want investments from them,” said Mashfi Binte Shams, Foreign Secretary (East).

“Trade, investment, labor export and security will be discussed. We are also planning to sign an agreement and a memorandum of understanding. »

Saudi Arabia has pushed Bangladesh to issue passports to Rohingya refugees, who traveled to the Gulf kingdom from Bangladesh after fleeing decades of persecution in Buddhist-majority Myanmar.

Since the 1980s, 68,000 of these Rohingya refugees have found refuge in Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi Ambassador to Bangladesh Issa bin Youssef Al-Duhailan.

Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia have also formed a high-level committee on the issue.

Foreign Minister Momen had in 2020 dismissed reports that Riyadh was pressuring Dhaka to issue passports to Rohingya refugees.

He had, however, said that people traveling to Saudi Arabia with Bangladeshi passports will be able to renew their papers.

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