Bangladesh and the UK to Deepen Business, Security, Migration and Climate Cooperation

Dhaka, 13 September 2023: HP News

The 5th Bangladesh-UK Strategic Dialogue was held in Dhaka on 12 September 2023 in a very warm, cordial and friendly atmosphere. The Dialogue, led respectively by Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen and UK FCDO Permanent Under-Secretary Sir Philip Barton, reviewed the entire gamut of historic relations between the two Commonwealth Nations, including political, economic, security and defence, migration and mobility, climate and development partnerships.

Both sides acknowledged their long-standing value-based friendship since 1971 and recalled the historic visit of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to London on 8 January 1972. The UK PUS expressed his deep appreciation for Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s participation in the State Funeral of UK’s late Monarch Queen Elizabeth II and in historic royal coronation of Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla. Bangladesh side expressed hope that His Majesty King Charles III would reschedule his postponed visit to Bangladesh at his earliest convenience.

Bangladesh and the UK agreed on enhancing migration and mobility cooperation especially in gainful employment in the nursing, hospitality, agricultural, construction and masonry and other services sectors in the UK. Both sides agreed to constitute a ‘Joint Working Group’ to discuss migration, mobility and mutual recognition of qualifications. They also agreed to sign a SoP on returns of Bangladesh nationals in irregular situation in the UK. Bangladesh thanked the UK Government for a significant increase in issuance of student, visit and business visas in 2022. The two sides also discussed mutual legal assistance in criminal matters.

Expressing satisfaction at the record-breaking bilateral trade of $6.4 billion in 2022-23 and $561 million FDI from the UK, the highest from any country in 2022, Bangladesh and the UK agreed to create new institutional cooperation to promote business, trade and investments. In this regard, they agreed to consider signing of a new MoU on economic cooperation. The UK POS commended the remarkable socio-economic progress and resilient economic growth achieved by Bangladesh over the past decade. Bangladesh Foreign Secretary commended the UK’s sustained market-access support to Bangladesh as its 3rd largest export destination and urged for its extension until 2029 and beyond following Bangladesh’s scheduled LDC graduation in 2026.

Recalling the Climate Accord signed between Bangladesh and the UK in March this year, both sides expressed their determination to cooperate in climate action bilaterally and multilaterally. They also agreed to sign a Joint Action Plan with time-bound activities under the Climate Accord towards a net-zero and nature-positive world.

The UK POS encouraged free, fair, violence-free and participatory elections in Bangladesh. He underlined the importance of media freedom for sustainable progress and prosperity of Bangladesh. Bangladesh side expressed commitment to forge ahead with its national targets under SDG 16 for building a just, peaceful and inclusive society.

The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary reiterated Bangladesh’s ‘zero tolerance’ policy against terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization. Both sides agreed to intensify cooperation and capacity building on global and regional security issues of mutual interest including maritime and aviation safety and security in the Indian Ocean as well as countering extremist and terrorist outfits. Both sides agreed to explore signing of an MoU on cooperation in cyber-security. The UK commended Bangladesh’s leading contribution to world peace under UN peacekeeping missions, especially praising one of the highest contributions of female peacekeepers by Bangladesh.

The two countries expressed satisfaction at the First Defence Dialogue held in 2022 and agreed to sign an MoU on defence cooperation during the 2nd Dialogue in London.

The UK appreciated Bangladesh’s generous hosting of Rohingyas from Myanmar and Bangladesh appreciated UK’s humanitarian and political support to the Rohingya crisis including at the UN Security Council and Commonwealth. Both sides expressed concern over the protracted Rohingya crisis and reaffirmed commitment to working closely towards a voluntary, safe and sustainable return of the Rohingyas to their homeland in Myanmar. Emphasizing the importance of international accountability of the atrocities committed on the Rohingyas, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary thanked the UK for joining the Rohingya justice case at the ICJ.

The UK side welcomed Bangladesh’s recently announced ‘Indo-Pacific Outlook’. Both sides agreed to forge new partnerships towards ensuring a free, open, peaceful, secure and inclusive Indo-Pacific for shared prosperity.

Bangladesh and the UK agreed to intensify cooperation in different regional and multilateral fora including at the UN, Commonwealth, IMO and IORA.

Bangladesh High Commissioner to the UK Saida Muna Tasneem and British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Sarah Cooke joined their respective delegations along with representatives from various Ministries and agencies of the two countries. said press release

The next round of Strategic Dialogue is expected to be held in London in 2024.

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