Bangladesh has proposed formation of a regional economic forum with five Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) member states of South and Southeast Asian region, including Bangladesh and Brunei. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came up with the proposal during her talks with Brunei Sultan Haji Hassan al Bolkiah. Brunei Sultan responded positively in this regard
With a mission to exploring ways to strengthen cooperation to elevate the relationship to a newer height, Prime Minister made a three-day official visit to Brunei Darussalam at the invitation of kingdom’s Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah on April 21 to 23. During the visit, Prime Minister held bilateral talks with Brunei Sultan and attended various programs.
Bangladesh and Brunei have agreed to explore the possibility of comprehensive collaboration in various sectors to support the rapid economic growth. The two countries also signed seven instruments for strengthening cooperation mainly in the fields of agriculture, fisheries, livestock, culture and sports, and LNG supply during the visit.
On April 22, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held official talks with Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah at the Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei.
After the talks, Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque briefed about Prime Minister’s proposal on formation of the economic forum. He said the members of the forum of the proposed regional economic forum will be Bangladesh and the Maldives from the South Asia and Indonesia, while Malaysia and Brunei from the Southeast Asia.
In response to the proposal, the Brunei Sultan assured that he will "favorably consider" the matter, the foreign secretary said.
Shahidul Haque said issues related to bilateral interests and international concerns, including Rohingya crisis, came up for discussions at the meeting.
A joint statement also issued on the meeting saying, Bangladesh and Brunei have agreed to explore the possibility of comprehensive collaboration in the energy sector amid the growing demand for energy in Bangladesh to support the rapid economic growth.
The 20-point joint statement said the two countries are looking for comprehensive collaboration in the energy sector via a Government-to-Government (G2G) arrangement, including liquefied natural gas (LNG) supply to Bangladesh as well as the participation of both public and private sectors; covering areas such as investments and trade in petro-chemicals, offshore oil and gas exploration, technical collaboration, and capacity building.
The two countries agreed to further deepen cooperation in the regional and international fora, including the United Nations; the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC); the Commonwealth and the ASEAN Regional Forum on issues of common interests and concerns, including extremism, terrorism, environmental protection; and sustainable development.
Both sides agreed to work together to promote a rules-based framework, peace, stability, and prosperity of the region and the world.
Both sides will encourage deeper cooperation in defense particularly in capacity building, knowledge sharing, peace-building and humanitarian operations.
Brunei Darussalam acknowledged Bangladesh’s humanitarian assistance and repatriation initiatives for 1.1 million people displaced from the Rakhine State, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh.
After the official bilateral meeting, the two countries signed seven instruments for strengthening cooperation in the potential fields. Of the seven instruments, six are MoUs and one is the exchange of notes.
One Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) is on scientific and technical cooperation in the field of agriculture, while another is on cooperation in the field of fisheries.
The other MoUs are on cooperation in the field of livestock; cooperation in the field of youth and sports; cooperation in the supply of LNG, and the exchange of notes on exemption of visa for holders of diplomatic and official passports.
The ministers concerned of the two countries inked the MoUs and exchange of notes in presence of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Brunei's Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah.
During the visit, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had a general audience with Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah and the Royal Family at Istana Nurul Iman, the official residence of the Sultan of Brunei.
She also attended the official banquet hosted by the Sultan in honor of her.
Sheikh Hasina opened the meeting of leaders of Bangladesh Business Community and Brunei Business Community and Brunei National Chamber of Commerce and Industry where she invited the entrepreneurs and businesspeople of Brunei to forge a partnership with the Bangladesh business community in the common journey towards growth and prosperity.
The Prime Minister laid the foundation stone of new chancery building of Bangladesh High Commission at the Diplomatic Enclave in Jalankebangsaan.
She also attended a community event and joined dinner hosted by the High Commissioner of Bangladesh to Brunei at Empire Hotel.
The Prime Minister returned home on April 23.
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