Bangladesh and Germany are set to sign an agreement on e-passport on Thursday as the government has decided to issue electronic passports alongside the machine readable passports (MRP) for the citizens of the country.
The German government says the agreement, to be signed on Thursday, will be on the production and use of biometric e-passports in Bangladesh and termed it as the largest ever German-Bangladeshi business project.
Minister of State at German Foreign Ministry Niels Annen arrived here Wednesday afternoon on a three-day official visit to discuss bilateral issues and sign the agreement.
The signing ceremony will be held at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC) in the city.
Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan and the German Minister of State will attend the signing ceremony.
On June 21, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved a project to issue e-passports alongside the existing MRPs to accommodate international demand as some countries, including Germany, do not accept MRPs.
The project titled "Introduction of e-Passport and Automated Border Control Management in Bangladesh" will be implemented from July 2018 to June 2028 with the finance of the government, an official told UNB.
Minister of State Annen, in his first visit to Bangladesh, will discuss trade, investment and international issues that are of great importance to both countries, including the Rohingya crisis.
Among the topics of foreign and regional affairs under discussion, particular focus will be on the Rohingya crisis, says German Foreign Ministry.
Before the signing ceremony, Minister Annen will hold formal talks with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali.
He will also meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her official residence Ganobhaban, officials said.
Prior to his departure from New Delhi to Dhaka, Minister of State Annen said, “On my first official trip to Dhaka, we will be talking about the response to the Rohingya crisis, for which Bangladesh deserves our respect and to which Germany is also providing important assistance.”
He said he will also use his discussions with unions and textile buyers to call for sustainable and humane working conditions in the local textile industry.
Minister of State Annen will meet members of the political opposition and hold talks with representatives of civil society.
His intention is to hear about current developments in the human rights situation in Bangladesh.
“The elections to be held at the end of 2018 need to meet minimum democratic standards,” said the German Foreign Ministry.
Germany is providing humanitarian assistance and stabilisation projects to support Bangladesh, which has taken in more than a million Rohingyas fleeing Myanmar.
Minister of State Annen will therefore also meet representatives of international aid organisations and the German Red Cross.
Germany has been one of the most important consumers of clothing made in Bangladesh for some years, and it is calling for humane standards of occupational health and safety and other labour rights for the millions, most of them women, who work in the sector.
In India, he held political talks on foreign, regional and security policy topics with Indian leaders.