Seeking support from Russia to resolve the Rohingya crisis, Bangladesh has narrated how the possibility of outstanding economic and social development tempo of Bangladesh may face external challenges following the mass exodus of the ethnic group from Myanmar.
The issue came up for discussion at a meeting between Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow on Monday.
Foreign Minister informed his Russian counterpart how Bangladesh was helping with everything in its capacity to assist Rohingyas from Myanmar at great financial, social and environmental cost to itself, purely on grounds of humanitarianism and goodwill gestures of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
Mahmood Ali apprised Lavrov of the latest developments and the measures taken by the Government of Bangladesh for the rehabilitation of the Myanmar nationals and sought the active cooperation of the Russian Federation and all others for resolving the issue.
Lavrov praised the efforts by Bangladesh and considered the recent engagements of Myanmar and the proposed inclusion of UN agencies and UNHCR in the rehabilitation arrangement as good signs towards resolving the problem.
He also assured possible assistance of Russia in this regard, said the Foreign Ministry in the capital.
Both the Ministers have expressed deep satisfaction on the pace of progress of the project for implementing the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant under the state export credit extended by the Government of the Russian Federation.
The Russian Foreign Minister assured Bangladesh of the timely completion of the project and training of the essential scientific and technical personnel.
The Foreign Ministers expressed satisfaction over the successful operations of Gazprom in different gas fields of Bangladesh and the Russian side reassured the engagement of Gazprom for further engagements in the energy sector.
Regarding the important ‘Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific & Technical Cooperation’, both the Ministers have agreed to determine date and venue of the first meeting of the Commission.
In the meeting, the upward trend of two-way bilateral trade was highly underscored, which currentlystands at 1.64 billion USD.
Foreign Minister Ali strongly urged for Duty-Free Quota Free access of Bangladeshi products into the Russian market and his Russian counterpart recommended approaching the issue through the platform of Eurasian Economic Union.
A MoU on general cooperation between Bangladesh Government and Eurasian Economic Commission is to be signed very soon.
They also exchanged opinions and experiences on cooperation in different international and regional fora and on the strong defense ties existing between Bangladesh and Russia.
He particularly thanked Bangladesh for supporting different Russian candidature.
They discussed current and possible future cooperation on the issues like fight against terrorism and violent extremism, human rights, poverty alleviation, culture and import of agricultural products, fight against cyber-crime etc.
Lavrov mentioned that during the forthcoming OIC-CFM, Russia will be represented by their Deputy Foreign Minister.
This was the second official visit to Moscow in consecutive two years at the invitation of the Russian Foreign Minister.
At a press briefing held in the Osovnyak Palace of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Minister Ali praised the economic progress of both the countries and deeply appreciated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Vladimir Putin for their farsightedness and charismatic role for global development and prosperity.
Foreign Minister Ali conveyed the heartiest felicitation to his counterpart for the landslide victory of Putin in the recently held Presidential Election and reminded the extended invitations to both Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitri Medvedev to visit Bangladesh.
Ali reiterated the strong admiration of the people of Bangladesh for the Russian Federation because of the valued support and contribution received from the people of the then Soviet Union during the Liberation War in 1971 and for the rehabilitation and reconstruction efforts after the independence.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister recalled that the bilateral relations started with the historic visit of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to the then Soviet Union.
He then described the recent graduation of Bangladesh from the LDC status to the category of the developing country under the leadership of the daughter of Bangabandhu and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.