Thu, 18 April 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Russia eager to diversify mutual interest with Bangladesh: Envoy

Update : 15 Feb 2024, 21:50

Russian Ambassador to Bangladesh Alexander Mantytsky on Thursday said Moscow is eager to expand and diversify areas of mutual interest with Bangladesh while Dhaka and Moscow has proven their ties resilient and strong.     

He said ''All in all, judging by the outcomes of the year 2023, Russia and Bangladesh relations have proven to be resilient and strong both politically and economically.'' 

The envoy added, “2024 seems to be equally promising.”

The ambassador was speaking at DCAB Talks hosted by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) at Jatiya Press Club here.

Mantytsky said Russia together with Bangladeshi partners is eager to expand and diversify areas of mutual interest for the sake of peoples of the two countries.

“It leaves no one in doubt that we have all prerequisites for that and share the same commitment,” he said.

Replying to question, the ambassador said Russia expects there will be no impact on Dhaka-Moscow relations following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's scheduled meeting with Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The question came as Bangladesh has accepted the Ukrainian president’s request to meet the prime minister on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference- 2014 taking place from February 16 to 18.

"Our position is the USA and Western countries should not tell what Bangladesh will do. This will depend on Bangladesh. They should not interfere in Bangladesh" he said.

Regarding the economic cooperation, the Ambassador said Bangladesh remains Russia’s second largest trade partner in South Asia after India.

In January-November 2023, the trade volume between the two countries was around $2.3 billion.

The Russian side is interested in diversification of its export basket by supplying machinery, equipment and technologies necessary for railway, road construction, building, metallurgy and other industrial spheres, said the envoy.

Noting that Russia makes a significant contribution to Bangladesh’s food security, he said, despite artificial and counterproductive obstacles created by the Western countries, Moscow continues to export to Bangladesh key agro-industrial products, mainly wheat and fertilizers," he said.

The Russian side is ready to expand the list of export items with edible oils, peas, chickpeas and lentils, said Ambassador Mantytsky.

"Energy has been the backbone of our cooperation. In 2023, Gazprom continued projects aimed at enhancing Bangladesh energy security," he said.

The drilling of three additional wells by Gazprom on Bhola Island has been completed, bringing the total number of drilled wells to 20.

The company’s proposals for gas evacuation and exploration of new fields are under consideration, he said.

"There are more offers and projects in the pipeline, such as the supply of Russian LNG and crude oil for further local refining, Russian solar energy technologies, upgrading local power stations, and more," Mantytsky said.

Russian ambassador said Rooppur NPP flagship project is moving according to the schedule and among the recent milestones there is the installation of the passive heat removal system at Unit 2.

The first unit is expected to start pilot operation by the end of this year, he said.

The Ambassador said, the JSC ASE – general contractor of the project has always given top priority to "safety” and Russian specialists use the most advanced engineering solutions and technologies in this project.

The same VVER-1200 reactors that are installed at the Roppur NPP are already in operation in Russia, having proved their efficiency and reliability, he said.

They can survive almost everything – from earthquake to a plane crash, he added.

Rooppur NPP will make a considerable contribution to Bangladesh economic development and energy security, said the envoy.

The Ambassador touched upon the situation around and in Ukraine, as well as highlighted the current state of Russia-Bangladesh affairs.

When asked whether Russia followed India's policy on Bangladesh, he said: "We follow our policy and it is written in our doctrine."

"Russia and India have differences on many issues and we follow our own policies here," he said, adding: “We do not see Bangladesh through the eyes of India.”

On the Rohingya issue, the ambassador said Russia wanted the Rohingyas to return to their homeland. DCAB President Nurul Islam Hasib and its General Secretary Ashiqur Rahman Apu also spoke.

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