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A historic moment in Bangladesh, Argentina ties

Argentina reopens embassy in Dhaka after 45yrs, signs 3 deals

Published : 28 Feb 2023 01:53 AM | Updated : 28 Feb 2023 12:59 PM

Argentine foreign minister Santiago Andres Cafiero on Monday reopened the embassy of the South American country in Dhaka after 45 years and signed three deals related to official and diplomatic visa waiver, foreign officials exchange and football cooperation to take the relations to a new height.

“It’s a stepping stone to make a better relationship,” he said while opening the embassy in the capital’s Banani - Block B house number 30 - along with State Minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam.

The event drew cheers from the crowd who gathered at the venue to celebrate the moment as it happened soon after the Argentine victory in the world cup football. A large number of Bangladeshi support Argentine football.

 This is the first time that a South American foreign minister visits Bangladesh, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said.

 The visiting minister expressed his country's gratitude to the people of Bangladesh for enormously supporting the Argentina football team during the last FIFA World Cup.

 State Minister Shahriar Alam termed it “a momentous and joyous occasion" for the two counties.

 “The relation between Bangladesh and Argentina is not only a diplomatic gesture but also an emotional one,” he said, referring to the Bangladesh people's affection towards Argentine football.

 After opening the mission, the Argentina minister met Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the state guesthouse Jamuna and signed three deals. Under those deals officials and diplomatic passport holders can travel without visa while Foreign Service academy will host exchange programmes. One of those deals includes cooperation in the football sector.

 Foreign Minister Momen thanked his counterpart and said this visit would open a new era in the relations.

 “He came here with a 36 member delegation including commerce secretary,” he said, indicating the level of engagement during the visit.

 The visiting minister will meet Commerce Minister Tipu Munshi on Tuesday, the last day of his three-day official visit.

 “Argentina was always by our side in all multilateral issues when I was in the UN,” Momen said as he was the permanent representative of Bangladesh at the UN in New York before joining politics.

 Argentina opened its mission in 1972 soon after the birth of Bangladesh. They also supported Bangladesh during the war. But they shut down the operations of the mission in 1977 during the military regime in Dhaka.

 “I hope business will grow,” Momen said, following the reopening of the mission.

 “Mainly they export now. After opening the mission our opportunities will grow,” he said, adding that Bangladesh wants to buy edible oil and bring technology for cattle production.

 “We want to export our pharmaceutical, IT products to Argentina,” he said, inviting them to invest in the high-tech park. “Now it is our responsibility to open our mission there,” the foreign minister said.

 The Argentina minister said the relations between the countries date back to many years since Argentina was one of the first countries to recognize Bangladesh as an independent nation.

 “In various international fora countries like us need South-South cooperation to raise our voice,” he said.

 “Today we reopened the embassy after it has been closed since 1977. Reopening the embassy has been a very important step for us,” he said.

 The Argentina foreign ministry, earlier, said with the reopening of the embassy and its consular section, it wants to use the potential of the bilateral relationship, mainly in the commercial aspect that has a wide potential to diversify trade.

 "It is considered opportune and convenient to reopen the Embassy of the Republic in the People's Republic of Bangladesh, in accordance with foreign policy guidelines based on political, strategic and commercial reasons," read the Argentine decree, which was signed by Cafiero and President Alberto Fern ndez.

 After the joint briefing, the two ministers held a bilateral talk at the state guesthouse Jamuna to discuss trade and investment issues.

 Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr Momen received him at the VIP Lounge of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the morning.

 On Tuesday, he will pay homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing a wreath at Bangabandhu memorial museum at Dhanmondi.

 He will also call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

 He will visit the Bangladesh Football Federation (BFF) within the framework of affection and the passion that Bangladeshi fans showed for the Argentine team during the last FIFA World Cup.

 The Argentine foreign ministry also said Cafiero's visit represents a significant event for Argentine geopolitics since Bangladesh is located at the crossroads of South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia, being the eighth most populous country in the world, with a market of more than 170 million inhabitants.

 In 2022, bilateral trade with Bangladesh was $765 million. Argentine exports reached $742.9 million and imports from Bangladesh totalled $22.1 million.

 A trade surplus of $720.8 million for Argentina was registered in 2022.

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