Bangladesh will sign four deals with Maldives during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit in Male on December 22 and 23.
During the visit, the prime minister will meet President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, speak at the national parliament, and interact with Bangladeshi expatriates living there virtually, among others.
She will also hand over 13 military vehicles to Maldives as a ‘friendly gesture’, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said on Sunday while brieifng reporters about the visit.
Maldives President Solih invited the Prime Minister to visit the island nation during his Dhaka sojourn in March to attend the celebration of ‘Mujib Borsho’ – birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Maldives is the biggest labour market for Bangladesh in South Asia.
Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income; agreement on the Transfer of Prisoners; MoU in the areas of Health Care and Medical Sciences between Bangladesh and Maldives (renewal); and MoU between Bangladesh and Maldives on Cooperation in the Area of youth and Sports Development would be signed during the visit.
Besides, MoU on Recruitment of Qualified Health Professionals between Bangladesh and Maldives would be renewed.
Earlier, the Cabinet approved the draft deal titled “Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of the Republic of Maldives on Transfer of Prisoners”.
The approval was given at the regular Cabinet meeting held with the Prime Minister in the chair.
“Since some Bangladeshis are now in Maldives prisons, the ministry brought the agreement (before the cabinet)….. We expect this deal will be signed during this tour (PM’s visit),” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing reporters at the secretariat after the meeting.
He said 43 Bangladeshi convicts are in the Maldives jails, while 40 other Bangladeshis are under trial there but no national of Maldives is in the jail of Bangladesh.
According to the agreement, prisoners can be transferred from both countries, said the Cabinet Secretary, adding that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will go on a visit to Maldives within the next few days.
The Cabinet also endorsed the draft of another agreement over health sector cooperation between Bangladesh and Maldives.
Anwarul Islam said different types of Bangladeshi health professionals went to Maldives under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries, but now Maldives has asked to extend the deed till 2024 and sign a full-fledged agreement instead of MoU.
“Maldives will take qualified health professionals ---clinical specialists, public health specialists, dental surgeons and nurses and other auxiliary staff— from Bangladesh. So, they want to ink an agreement,” he said.