Seven MoUs likely with Brunei during PM’s visit

Publish: 6:09 PM, April 18, 2019 | Update: 6:09:PM, April 18, 2019

DHAKA,   – Bangladesh expects to sign seven Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) with Brunei during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the ASEAN member state starting on Sunday.

“On various sectors, we have already finalized six MoUs while one is under consideration. We are also hopeful of getting assurances of Brunei investment here,” foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said at a news briefing at the foreign ministry here today.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is set to leave here on Sunday on a three-day official visit to Brunei Darussalam at the invitation of the kingdom’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah.

The six finalized instruments, likely to be signed during the premier’s visit, are related to bilateral cooperation on agriculture, fisheries, livestock, youth and sports, cultural affairs and energy sectors.

During the visit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will hold bilateral talks with the Sultan at Baitul Mesyuarah in Istana Nurul Iman.

Apart from boosting relations between the two countries, the foreign minister hoped that the visit would be very successful in increasing bilateral trade relations.

“We do believe the Prime Minister’s visit will further strengthen the bilateral relations as well as cooperation on energy, trade, investment, agriculture, food, air connectivity, human resource development, tourism and technology between the two countries,” he said.

Brunei has already expressed its keen interest to invest in Bangladesh’s different sectors, especially agriculture and energy fields, he said.

Momen said Brunei is an important partner of Bangladesh in the international arena as the country is member of both the OIC (Organisation of Islamic Cooperation) and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations).

The foreign minister said Bangladesh will discuss with Brunei about safe repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar from Bangladesh during the visit.

“Wherever we are going, we are raising the Rohingya repatriation issue with the highest importance… so it will also get priority during the Brunei visit in particular as they (Brunei) are member of ASEAN,” he said.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh has already given a proposal to ASEAN named as “ASEAN plus” to create a safe zone inside Myanmar under supervision of ASEAN.

He said the ASEAN member states can monitor the safe zone so that the displaced Rohingyas can feel safe when they are repatriated to Myanmar.

Mentioning that Brunei always gives support to Bangladesh in different international arena, the minister said, “We have already developed a solid relationship with Brunei in last decade and we would like to take it to a new height during the visit.”

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is scheduled to reach Brunei International Airport in Bandar Seri Begawan, the Brunei capital, at 2:45 pm local time when Crown Prince of Brunei Darussalam Haji Al-Muhtadee Billah is expected to receive her at the airport.

After the official welcome ceremony, a ceremonial motorcade will escort the prime minister to Empire Hotel and Country Club, where she will be staying during her visit.

On the first day of her visit, Sheikh Hasina would join a community reception to be hosted in her honour by the expatriate Bangladeshis in Brunei at Indera Samudera Ballroom of Empire Hotel and Country Club.

She would attend a dinner to be hosted by the high commissioner of Bangladesh to Brunei the same day.

On Monday morning, Sheikh Hasina will have a general audience with Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah and Royal family members at Cheradi Laila Kenchana at the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan.

After the audience, the Bangladesh-Brunei bilateral talks will be held and it would be followed by signing ceremony of the memorandums of understanding (MoUs).

In the afternoon, the prime minister will join a meeting between Bangladesh business community and Brunei business community and Brunei National Chamber of Commerce and Industry at Empire Hotel and Country Club.

She will visit Jame Asr Mosque and offer Asr prayers there.

Sheikh Hasina will attend an official banquet to be hosted in her honour by the Sultan at Istana Nurul Iman.

On Tuesday morning, the prime minister will lay the foundation stone of the new Chancery Building of Bangladesh High Commission at the Diplomatic Enclave at Jalan Kebangsaan in Brunei capital. Later, she will visit Royal Regalia Museum.

Sheikh Hasina will leave Brunei for home at 5 pm local time and reach Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (HSIA) in the evening.