Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP is now on a three-day Official Visit to Qatar at the invitation of his Qatari counterpartSheikh Mohammed Bin Abdulrahman Bin Jassim Al-Thani. Starting his first official visit to Qatar, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh was received by the Chief of Protocol of the Foreign Ministry of Qatar at the airport on arrival yesterday. During the visit, he is accompanied by high officials of the Foreign Ministry.
2. Today, Foreign Minister Ali had a series of meetings with the Qatari leaders. He paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister of Qatar Sheikh Abdullah Bin Nasser Bin Khalifa Al Thani at the Qatari AmiriDewane (Doha Palace) in the morning. He briefly outlined the overall development that is underway in Bangladesh under the dynamic leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. He presented a robust picture and prospects of Bangladesh-Qatar bilateral relations in the field of trade, investment, defense, energy and power generation. Qatari Prime Minister Sheikh Abdullah praised the leadership of Bangladesh for its remarkable achievements. He also lauded the honest and hardworking Bangladeshi workers now numbering 3,80,000for their contribution in the development of Qatar. Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali thanked the Government and the people of Qatar for hosting Bangladeshi workers and opined that Bangladesh can also provide professionals like doctors, nurses and teachers along with the traditional work force.
3. Foreign Minister Mahmood Aliheld Official talks with the State Minister for Foreign Affairs H.E. Mr. Soltan bin Saad Al-Muraikhiat the Foreign Ministry of Qatar. During the meeting both sides discussed issues of mutual interest including bilateral trade and investment prospects, exploration of gas, LNG, infrastructure developments, power generation, defense, marine fisheries, people to people contact, diplomatic land exchange and pledged to support each other in the international fora. Qatari Minister expressed gratitude to Bangladesh for her support to their candidature to the post of Director General of UNESCO for the term 2017-21. Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali, MP sought Qatari support and assistance in Bangladesh’s bid to host the 45th OIC CFM in Dhaka in 2018 to which the Qatari Minister extended full support.
4. Both the Ministers stressed on the need to hold regular political consultations in moving the excellent cooperation and understanding between the two countries forward. Qatari Minister responded positively and informed that he would like to undertake a return bilateral visit to Bangladesh soon. Foreign Minister Ali reiterated the invitationof Hon’ble President of Bangladesh to His Highness the Emir of Qatar to visit Bangladesh to which the Qatari Minister replied by saying that it may take place at a mutually agreed date early next year.
5. Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali, MP met with the Qatari Minister for Energy and Industry Dr. Mohamed Bin Saleh Al Sada and held fruitful talks on the ways to deepen the cooperation between Bangladesh and Qatar in the field of energy, gas, power generation and relevant fields. Energy and Industry Minister of Qatar expressed keen desire to invest in Bangladesh in the LNG and power generation sectors citing the recent success in bilateral talks between RAS Gas and Petro Bangla. He informed that Nebras Power could visit Bangladesh to explore the possibility investment in power generation sectors in Bangladesh. In this context, Foreign Minister of Bangladesh extended an invitation to the Qatari Energy and Industry Minister to undertake a visit with an investment delegation to Bangladesh to experience the existing potentials in this sector. Later,during his meeting with the Qatari Prime Ministerwhen Foreign Minister Ali repeated the invitation extended to the Qatari Energy Minister, the Qatari Prime Minister assured to arrange the Qatari Energy Minister’s visit to Bangladesh soon.
6. Foreign Minister Aliproposed to send a delegation of Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) to visit Qatar to continue the discussion. Citing the 100 Special Economic Zones (SEZs) set up by the government all over the country, Foreign Minister Ali viewed that if Qatari investors want the Bangladesh government can offer an exclusive Zone for the Qatari investors. Dr. Mohamed Sadaresponded positively to undertake the visit to Bangladesh and hoped to work towards organizing regular contacts at high official levels between the two sides in the energy sectors. Hefurther suggested that besides bilateral engagement, Bangladesh may consider entering into a framework economic cooperation with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) to have wider engagement in trade and investment not only with Qatar but also with the countries in the region.
7. Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Mahmood Ali, MP also called on Dr. IssaSaad Al-Jafali Al-Nuaimi, Minister for Administrative Development and Labour today. The Labour Minister of Qatar informed Foreign Minister of Bangladesh about the new legislation promulgated by Qatar on manpower recruitment and held out its various positive aspectssuch as wage protection and rights to change job (sponsorships) enhancing labour standards in line with the ILO standard. Foreign Minister of Bangladesh appreciated deeply the new reforms in the labour law of Qatar which would ultimately benefit both sides. The Qatari Labour Minister Dr. IssaSaadexpressed willingness of the Government of Qatar to recruit professionals like doctors, engineers, IT experts, bankers and management specialists alongside semi-skilled and un-skilled workers from Bangladesh. He proposed for developing a mechanism to establish a web-based direct connection between the employers and workers. Foreign Minister Ali proposed that Qatari side may establish training facilities for Qatar-bound workers from Bangladesh to impart requisite training as per the job requirement and also in Arabic language.
8. Shortly after his arrival yesterday Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali, MP visited the Embassy of Bangladesh in Doha, exchanged views with the officials and staffs and inaugurated the Embassy Library. Later he paid a visit to the Bangladesh MHM School and College, Doha and inaugurated the two newly built academic blocks of the school that has been built with the donation provided by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her visit to Qatar in 2012. Foreign Minister Ali met a Qatari businessman who has admitted his 6 children (12 Qatari students out of 1200 students are currently studying in the school) in the Bangladesh school in Doha. Mr. Ali was amazed to see that the Qatari students spoke fluently in Bengali and he invited them to visit Bangladesh. Foreign Minister Ali was accorded a civic reception at the school premises which was followed by a cultural program.