Comment by the Information and Press Department on Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s meeting with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali

Sunday, 01 April 2018 11:28

On April 2, Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali will pay a working visit to Russia at the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. This will be the fourth meeting between both Foreign Ministers in two years. The last time they met was September 20, 2017, on the sidelines of the 72thsession of the UN General Assembly.

During their talks, both sides will discuss the current status of bilateral relations and their prospects. They will also coordinate their positions on topical matters concerning international and regional affairs.

Dhaka is Moscow’s longtime and reliable partner in South Asia. In 1971, the Soviet Union was among the first countries to recognise the independence of the young state and provided it with substantial political and economic support during its assertion. The people of Bangladesh honour the heroic feat of Soviet sailors who helped, between 1972 and 1974, with mine-disposal operations at Chittagong seaport after the Bangladeshi-Pakistani war and who also salvaged sunken vessels there.

Bilateral political dialogue continues to develop steadily and contacts are maintained through the foreign ministries. Political consultative mechanisms and those aiming to fight international terrorism continue to function. Both countries exchange parliamentary delegations. Moscow and Dhaka cooperate efficiently at the UN, agencies of the UN family and at other multilateral organisations.

In January 2013, Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed paid an official visit to Moscow and held talks with President of Russia Vladimir Putin. Her visit provided a powerful impetus to the entire range of bilateral ties. The 2013 agreements continue to determine the agenda of high-priority bilateral contacts, including energy and military-technical cooperation.

In July 2016, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev met with Sheikh Hasina Wazed on the sidelines of the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) summit in Ulan-Bator. Both sides reaffirmed their mutual striving to strengthen partnership in various fields.

Russia and Bangladesh have made substantial headway in the trade and economic sector. In late 2017, bilateral trade volumes reached $1.645 billion, an all-time high. Russia’s $763 million exports are dominated by agricultural produce (46.4 percent, $354.3 million), machinery and equipment (25.8 percent, $196.7 million) and chemicals (10.4 percent, $79.5 million). The work of the Russian-Bangladeshi Commission for Trade and Economic, Science and Technological Cooperation will ensure more efficient business cooperation. An agreement on the establishment of this Commission entered into force in March 2017.

Bangladesh is a major importer of Russian wheat, and the partners want to expand these purchases by one million tonnes annually.

The unfinished Rooppur nuclear power station is a flagship project of bilateral energy partnership. Russia’s involvement in this construction project guarantees the long-term operation of over 100 national industrial companies.

Russian experience in the conventional power industry remains highly popular in Bangladesh. In October 2017, Russia’s Inter RAO Engineering Co. commissioned a 210-megawatt power unit No. 5 at Ghorashal power station under a 2014 contract.

Russia and Bangladesh have an impressive potential for expanding their cooperation in the area of culture and education. The Bangladeshi side has received 63 grants for students, due to enroll at Russian universities in the 2017-2018 academic year; and they will study free of charge at federal expense.

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