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PM leaves for Thailand to attend ESCAP meet tomorrow

Published : Tuesday, 23 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 306

Bangladesh and Thailand will sign a number of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) during Prime Minister Sheikh Hasinas official visit to Thailand scheduled to start from April 24.

"Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will pay a six-day official visit to Thailand from Wednesday at the invitation of her Thai counterpart Srettha Thavisin to strengthen ties between the two countries. We expected that a number of cooperation documents including a letter of intent on negotiations for a free trade agreement between the two countries will be signed during the visit," Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud told reporters at a media briefing on Monday.

 The scheduled bilateral visit of the prime minister will be the first-ever visit at the level of head of government from Bangladesh to Thailand since establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972.  

The visit is significant for both Bangladesh and Thailand as it will open new windows of cooperation between the two friendly countries, Minister Hasan said.

 Foreign Minister said in her multilateral engagement PM Hasina is scheduled to attend the 80th Session of the Commission for UNESCAP.

 "She will deliver a speech at UNESCAP on April 25. On the same day, the Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Armida Salsiah Alisjabana will call on the prime minister," he said.

However, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation, while two more MoUs on tourism sector cooperation and duty related mutual cooperation, agreement on visa exemption for official passport holders are likely to be signed, the foreign minister said.

Primer Minister Sheikh Hasina will witness the signing of the documents.

 He said Bangladesh will also seek support from Thailand regarding Rohingya repatriation. "Its both bilateral and a multilateral visit," he said while responding to a question.

 The PM would lead a high level delegation which includes a number of ministers, advisers, secretaries and senior officials of the government.

 The foreign minister said the issue of shipping connectivity will also be discussed. "I am very much interested to raise the issue."

 He said Bangladesh will seek increased investment from Thailand.  

Finance Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud and PMs Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman F Rahman will accompany the prime minister during April 24-29 visit. State Minister for Posts, Telecommunications and Information Technology Zunaid Ahmed Palak and State Minister for Commerce Ahasanul Islam Titu will also be part of the Bangladesh delegation.

 On April 26, PM Hasina will be formally received by her Thai host Srettha Thavisin while a ceremonial guard of honour will be accorded to her.

On the same day, the Bangladesh premier will hold bilateral talks with PM Thavisin at the Government House.

 During the visit, the prime minister will have a Royal audience of Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua and Suthida Bajrasudhabimalalakshan, King and Queen of the Kingdom of Thailand at the Palace.

 Hasina is also scheduled to attend a state lunch to be hosted by her Thai counterpart in her honour.

 ESCAP session, guided by the theme "Leveraging digital innovation for sustainable development in Asia and the Pacific", the eightieth session will be an opportunity to strengthen region-wide cooperative action on leveraging digital innovation for the accelerated implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

 The session will bring together government leaders and ministers from across Asia and the Pacific and other key stakeholders to discuss how digital innovation can more inclusively contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals across multiple disciplines.

 Moreover, participants will be able to identify opportunities to fully unleash the transformative potential of digital innovations and discuss pathways to strengthen their contribution to sustainable development, said the organisers.

 A digital innovation fair will provide space to engage with a broad range of partners and stakeholders showcasing digital innovations that are already contributing to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals across the region.

 Asia and the Pacific are uniquely placed to leverage digital technologies to overcome sustainable development challenges.

 Already, the region is recognized as a dynamic hub for digitally driven innovation fueled by pioneering technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Digital Finance, GovTech, and the Internet of Things.

 Yet to encourage further ingenuity and tap digital innovation to bolster the huge collective effort required to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, the region needs a plan.

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