Tue, 21 May 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

PM Hasina departs for Thailand on six-day official visit

Update : 24 Apr 2024, 12:04

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina left Dhaka this morning for Bangkok on a six-day official visit to Thailand at the invitation of her Thai counterpart Srettha Thavisin to strengthen the bilateral relations between the two countries.

A flight of Biman Bangladesh Airlines, carrying the premier and her entourage, departed Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at 10:13 am, said the premier's Speechwriter Md. Nazrul Islam.

The aircraft is scheduled to land at Don Mueang International Airport, Bangkok at 1:30pm local time.

"It's both a bilateral and multilateral visit," said Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud at a media briefing on Monday, marking the visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Thailand on April 24-29.

He said the visit is significant for both the sides as it will open a new window of cooperation between the two friendly countries, Bangladesh and Thailand.

It will be the first bilateral visit of the premier after formation of the present government in January last.

During her visit, Sheikh Hasina will hold bilateral talks with Thai Prime Minister Thavisin and also attend the 80th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).

Bangladesh and Thailand will sign a number of cooperation documents including a letter of intent on negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries, said the Foreign Minister.

Bangladesh and Thailand are likely to sign an agreement on visa exemption for official passport holders, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation while two more MoUs on tourism sector cooperation and duty related mutual cooperation to expand the relations, he said.

The foreign minister said the visit will create opportunity to review the potential "Free Trade Agreement" between the two countries for expansion of trade and increasing import and export.

During the visit, Hasan said Dhaka will strongly raise the issue of Bangladesh's appeal to become a "Sectoral Dialogue Partner" of the ASEAN.

He said Bangladesh will reiterate its urge to Thailand, as a member of ASEAN, to play more proactive role in the Rohingya repatriation process amid the ongoing political conflict in Myanmar.

"As Thailand and Myanmar both belong to ASEAN, the Rohingya issue will be discussed with due importance," he said.

Hasan said cooperation in the areas of investment, tourism, energy, land and sea connectivity will also be discussed during the high level visit.

Bangladesh and Thailand could utilize the existing immense potential of tourism sector through joint activities and exchange expertise in the areas of human resource development, Buddhist circuit promotion as well as making investment in the travel and leisure industry, he said.

"This cooperation in the tourism industry could create significant economic growth and employment opportunities in both the countries," said the foreign minister.

On April 26, the premier will be formally received by her Thai counterpart Srettha Thavisin while a ceremonial guard of honor will be accorded to her.

On the same day, Sheikh Hasina will hold bilateral talks with Thavisin at the Government House (Prime Minister's Office) following a tete-a-tete between the two leaders, witness the signing of documents, participate in a joint press conference and then attend a state lunch to be hosted by her Thai counterpart in her honour there.

During the visit, the prime minister will have a Royal audience of Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua and Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshan, King and Queen of the Kingdom of Thailand at the Palace.

In her multilateral engagement, the prime minister is scheduled to attend the 80th Session of ESCAP and deliver a speech on April 25.

On the same day, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and ESCAP Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjabana will call on the prime minister.

Guided by the theme "Leveraging digital innovation for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific", the eightieth session will be an opportunity to strengthen region-wide cooperative action on leveraging digital innovation for the accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

The session will bring together government leaders and ministers from across Asia and the Pacific and other key stakeholders to discuss how digital innovation can more inclusively contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals across multiple disciplines.

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