May 26, 2024, 3:13 am

Thailand visit a milestone: PM

  • Update Time : Thursday, May 2, 2024
  • 14 Time View
Photo: Collected

TDS Desk:

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina declared her recent six-day trip to Thailand as a landmark success, aimed at safeguarding Bangladesh’s economic interests and elevating its regional presence.

The visit, which took place from April 24 to April 29, was prompted by an invitation from Thai Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin.

During a press briefing at her official residence, Ganabhaban, on Thursday, Prime Minister Hasina said, “Overall, this visit was a significant step forward in our efforts to protect our economic interests and enhance our regional involvement.”

The trip included a series of bilateral and multilateral meetings, underscoring a commitment to strengthening ties between Bangladesh and Thailand.

“This official visit will serve as a milestone in our bilateral relationship and ushers in a new era of fruitful partnerships,” stated Prime Minister Hasina.

She also highlighted the importance of her visit to Thailand, an influential ASEAN member, as being crucial for advancing economic and diplomatic ties. “The visit will play an important role in enhancing our bilateral economic relations, including advancing talks on a free trade agreement, boosting communication, and more,” she elaborated.

Furthermore, Prime Minister Hasina expressed optimism regarding the impact of her discussions with Prime Minister Thavisin on the issue of Rohingya repatriation.

She was also hopeful that her discussions with the Thai Prime Minister will encourage Thailand to adopt a stronger stance on the speedy repatriation of Rohingyas, both bilaterally and within the ASEAN framework.

Prime Minister Hasina also pointed out that the visit is expected to significantly support Bangladesh’s bid to become an ASEAN Sectoral Dialogue Partner by 2024, marking a significant step in its diplomatic endeavors in the region.

World order has changed, need to develop closer ties with neighbours, says PM Hasina.

bdnews reports that, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina says the world order has changed in the wake of the recent world events, pushing Bangladesh to form closer bonds with its neighbours.

“I believe our regional cooperation and communication has become more important for socio-economic development,” she said at a press conference at her official residence Gonobhaban on her recent visit to Thailand on Thursday.

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic, the situation in the world has changed a lot. You have seen the Russia-Ukraine war, the Palestinian genocide perpetrated by Israel. Given the way the overall situation has developed, we need to strengthen our ties with our neighbours and, on the socio-economic front, we need to see how we can learn from the exchange of opinions and experiences to better serve the people of our country.”

The prime minister also urged for regional cooperation bodies such as ASEAN and BIMSTEC to receive more attention.

Regarding her recent visit to Thailand, the premier noted that it was her first bilateral visit since forming a new government.

Asked what Bangladesh had received during the trip, she said, “What we received isn’t that important, but what is important is that a new door was opened in cooperation and overall development. This has created good opportunities. We always want to improve the cooperation, communication, and the exchange of ideas and experiences with our neighbours in South Asia and Southeast Asia.”

“I believe friendship is extremely important for socio-economic development.”

Bangladesh can learn from Thailand’s progress in food and agricultural production and their research and experience in the field, she said. The country can also learn from their experience in business, commerce and their well-developed tourism sector, she added.

“We can also give them space. We have the longest natural unbroken sea beach in the world and we can give them space near that to develop,” she said.

The press conference began at her official residence Gonobhaban at 11:30am on Thursday. Government ministers and senior leaders of the ruling Awami League were in attendance.

As always, the press conference was telecast live by state broadcaster BTV.

The head of government attends a press conference after every foreign trip. The prime minister’s statement focuses on the visit, but the question and answer session afterwards usually focuses on the recent political and economic situation.

The premier flew to Bangkok on Apr 24 at the invitation of her Thai counterpart Srettha Thavisin and was accorded a red-carpet reception at the airport.

The visit was the first of its kind for a head of the government in Bangladesh in 52 years of diplomatic relations.

It was also part of Bangladesh’s stronger focus on its ‘neighbour’ policy, Hasina said. She believed her visit provided a great opportunity to renew the bilateral relations.

On Apr 25, the prime minister addressed the 80th Session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific – UNESCAP – as part of her multilateral engagement.

She urged international leaders to stand against all forms of aggression and atrocities and say “no” to wars, adding peace and security were preconditions for sustainable development.

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

She also paid a courtesy visit to King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua and Queen Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshan of the Kingdom of Thailand.

Prime Minister Thavisin formally welcomed Hasina with a guard of honour on Apr 26.

The two leaders then held a bilateral meeting and five documents were signed in their presence to strengthen ties.

The documents signed included an agreement, three memoranda of understanding, MoUs, and a Letter of Intent, or LoI. They were an Agreement on Visa Exemption for holders of official passports; an MoU on Energy Cooperation; an MoU on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters; an MoU on Cooperation in the field of tourism; and an LoI to commence negotiations on a Free Trade Agreement, FTA, by the year 2024.

Hasina joined the luncheon hosted by the Thai prime minister. During the feast, she said she strongly believed her visit would propel the growth of bilateral ties.

She landed in Dhaka around 11:30am on Monday.

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