PM’s Abu Dhabi visit

New dimension in BD-UAE relations

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina started her second visit, within two months, to the United Arab Emirates on Sunday giving a new dimension to the relations with the Middle East’s one of the most important economic centers. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the armed forces Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan invited the prime minister for the three-day visit to attend the “Abu Dhabi Sustainable Week” and “Zayed Sustainable Awards Ceremony”.

The award is named after the late founding father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan. The prime minister will have bilateral meetings with the Crown Prince, Ruler of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed Al Maktoum and Chairman of the Supreme Council for Motherhood and Childhood Sheikh Fatima bint Mubarak on January 14.

Two instruments are likely to be signed between Bangladesh and the UAE during her visit. She will also give directives to Bangladesh envoys in West Asia regarding current Middle East situation. Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen briefing reporters on Sunday said that Bangladesh is giving ‘importance’ to the relations with the UAE.

“We have very good relations. We want to strengthen that further,” he said, adding that UAE is the current chair of the OIC which is the collective voice of the Muslim World. Bangladesh seeks UAE investments in different sectors particularly energy and solar power. The Prime Minister during her November visit received the much-needed assurance of the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi that the labour market for Bangladesh workers, which was closed several years ago, would be opened soon.

“No doubt the visit will give a new dimension to the bilateral relations,” former ambassador Munshi Faiz Ahmad told Bangladesh Post. “UAE is very important for our labour market. When the prime minister visits, she certainly discusses all the issues between the countries. And this discussion helps to solve problems and give a new direction to the relations”.

The foreign minister said during the last visit of the prime minister, the UAE agreed to open up the labour market after six years of closure.
“There are bureaucratic issues to materialize the decision. We are working on it. The process is lengthy. The PM’s visit will accelerate the process,” he hoped, adding that investments from the UAE is another reason for giving importance to this relation.

The prime minister will also highlight Bangladesh’s position in implementing SDGs. “The Prime Minister will get opportunities to apprise the world leaders of the initiatives taken by Bangladesh in achieving the SDGs,” the foreign minister said. At the programmes, the foreign minister said the Prime minister will also give a detail overview to the participating world leaders about Bangladesh government’s initiatives in the field of energy, health care, climate change, water and biotechnology to achieve “Vision 2041” to turn Bangladesh into a developed country.

The agreements that are expected to be signed include ‘Addendum to the MoU signed between Emirates National Oil Company (ENOC) and Ministry of Power, Energy and Mineral Resources, Bangladesh’ and ‘Protocol of Amendment to the Agreement on allotment of land plot in Baridhara Diplomatic Enclave’, Dhaka for Construction of Embassy Premises.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh Ambassadors to Bahrain, Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arab and the UAE will attend the envoy’s conference and get directives from the prime minister. At the conference, he said the Prime Minister will give directives to the Bangladesh envoys about Dhaka’s role amid the current tensed situation of the Middle East.

“Bangladesh’s position is always in favour of peace and stability and follows its core diplomatic motto – friendship to all, malice to none. War is not an answer,” he said, adding that Bangladesh would like to see stability, peace and national integrity all over the world. He said the Prime Minister will also give directives to Bangladeshi envoys on how they can attract more investment in Bangladesh from the Middle Eastern nations.

The Prime minister will also set to discuss about the various plans of the Bangladesh missions in West Asia regarding celebrating the Birth centenary of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. A VVIP flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines carrying the premier and her entourage members reached Abu Dhabi International Airport at 8.55pm (local time) where Bangladesh Ambassador to the UAE Muhammad Imran received the premier at the airport.

After the reception at the airport, a ceremonial motorcade escorted the premier to Shangri-La Hotel in Abu Dhabi, where she would be staying during her visit to the UAE. The prime minister will also give ‘keynote interview’ on “The Critical Role of Women in Delivering Climate Action”, and will attend the WiSER Forum Women in Sustainability, Environment and Renewable Energy on January 14 before returning home.