Bangladesh and Kuwait yesterday pledged to work together against the twin dangers presented by terrorism and extreme violence to the Muslim community worldwide.
The two countries also reached a consensus to further expand cooperation in the fields of economy, investment, trade, energy, manpower, military and ICT.
The consensus came during the official talks between the two sides at the Prime Minister's Office in the afternoon. Kuwaiti Prime Minister Sheikh Jaber Al-Mubarak Al-Hamad Al-Sabah and his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina led their respective countries in the meeting.
The Kuwaiti leader highly praised Hasina's initiatives to fight terrorism and extreme violence, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque told reporters after the meeting.
He said the official talks highlighted investment promotion, energy cooperation, reducing trade gap, boosting manpower export to Kuwait and defence, technical and economical cooperation.
The two premiers pointed out their “zero tolerance policy” against terrorism and extreme violence, saying these are against humanity and contrary to the solidarity of the Muslim Ummah.
Hasina requested the Kuwaiti premier to invest in Bangladesh's Special Economic Zones in various sectors, especially in IT.
Mentioning the Bangladesh government's priority on the energy sector, the PM sought support from Kuwait as it has vast expertise and experience in energy resources.
The Kuwaiti PM expressed his inclination to extend support to Bangladesh in energy exploration. He added that Bangladesh and Kuwait could work jointly for exploration of oil and gas resources in the Bay of Bengal.
A proposal was also made to discuss the manpower export to Kuwait at joint working group level, as around 2,00,000 Bangladeshi workers are currently employed in the Arab country.
Expressing satisfaction at the existing defence cooperation between the two countries, the Kuwaiti side lauded the standards of the defence force of Bangladesh and hoped that this defence cooperation would further strengthen in future.
About visa exemption, Hasina urged her Kuwaiti counterpart to take a facilitating role for the holders of general passports.
The foreign secretary said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during her last visit to Kuwait sought support of the Kuwaiti government in setting up of an oil refinery in Bangladesh.
“The issue also came up for discussion during the official talks. Two technical delegations of Kuwait have already visited Bangladesh in this regard,” he added.
The Kuwaiti premier informed Hasina that the current emir of Kuwait, then the foreign minister of the Gulf state, had escorted Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the OIC Summit held in Lahore in 1974.
Later, the Kuwaiti leader joined a state banquet hosted by Hasina at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon Hotel.
FOUR DEALS SIGNED
Bangladesh and Kuwait yesterday signed four agreements in the fields of investment, military cooperation and road communications.
The instruments were signed after the official talks between the two prime ministers at the Prime Minister's Office in the afternoon.
The two premiers witnessed the signing of the agreements.
Kuwaiti Minister of Education and Higher Education Bader Hamad Al-Essa and Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu of Bangladesh signed the Agreement for the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investment on behalf of their respective sides.
“This agreement will open up a new door for investment in Bangladesh,” Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque told a press briefing after the signing of the deals.
Kuwaiti Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and Ambassador Khaled Sueliman Al-Jarallah and Home Ministry Senior Secretary Md Mozammel Haque Khan signed the Agreement on Mutual Exemption of Prior Entry Visa for Holders of Diplomatic, Special and Official Passports.
The agreement on cooperation in military fields of training and other areas was signed by Khaled Sueliman Al-Jarallah and Principal Staff Officer of the Armed Forces Division Lt Gen Md Mahfuzur Rahman.
The loan agreement between the government of Bangladesh and Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) for Financing of Paira Bridge Project was signed by Director General of KFAED Abdulwahab Al-Bader and Economic Relations Division Additional Secretary Mahmuda Begum.
It is the second loan agreement for implementing the Paira Bridge Project. Under the deal, the KFAED will provide a loan amounting to KWD 15 million (Kuwaiti dinar) which is equivalent to $50 million. Earlier, another loan agreement was also signed with the KFAED on March 13, 2012 for KWD 14 million ($48 million).
The roads and highways department under the Road Transport and Highways Division of the road transport and bridges ministry is implementing the project.