Dhaka, 28 October 2020: The departing High Commissioner of the Maldives Ms. Aishath Shaan Shakir made a farewell call on Foreign Minister Dr. A. K. Abdul Momen, MP today at the State Guest House Padma. While highlighting that “Maldives is Bangladesh’s time tested partner and friend”, Foreign Minister commended the Maldivian envoy for her proactive engagements in Bangladesh, which has contributed much to advancing the Bangladesh-Maldives relations.
High Commissioner Shakir appreciated the diligence and sincerity with which Bangladeshi expatriate workers are serving in the Maldives. Nearly 100 thousand Bangladeshi expatriates are employed in the Maldives in tourism and fishing industries. This is the largest expatriate community in South Asia.
To ensure that rights of the workers are well protected, Dr. Momen suggested that all recruitments need to be made through agencies nominated by the Government of Bangladesh and duly endorsed by the Bangladesh High Commission in Malé. He called upon the Government of Maldives to enforce safe and conducive workplace condition for Bangladeshi wage earners.
Earlier, as an expression of goodwill during the COVID pandemic, Bangladesh sent more than 100 MT of food, medicine and health equipment to Maldives by a navy ship. Further consignments of 18 MT food and medicine were sent by Bangladesh Air Force flight C-130. 71 stranded Maldivian nationals were evacuated by C-130 flight. Bangladesh also sent a 10-member medical team to the Maldives in April 2020 to provide healthcare during the pandemic.
High Commissioner also appreciated that many Bangladeshi physicians are serving at hospitals in the Maldives with repute. A rising number of Maldivian students are choosing Bangladesh as their preferred destination for higher studies. She also informed that the Maldives has a need for more doctors and nurses from Bangladesh. Foreign Minister said that Bangladesh, with its ready pool of talented professionals, would be happy to meet further need for human resources in the Maldives.
Dr. Momen highlighted that climate is an existential as well as development issue for both Bangladesh and the Maldives. He highlighted the need for countries to fulfill their COP commitments. He expressed Bangladesh’s willingness to collaborate further with the Maldives on climate change adaptation and mitigation.
Regarding bilateral trade,Foreign Minister emphasized the need to explore untapped potentials, saying, “Bangladesh seeks stronger trade ties with the Maldives”. He requested the High Commissioner to sensitize Maldivian business communities to import high quality RMG, pharmaceutical, jute, leather, plastic, ceramic and agro products from Bangladesh. He also suggested the opening of direct merchant shipping link between Bangladesh and the Maldives and stressed earnest efforts on both sides to discover novel areas of cooperation, including trade of soil from Bangladesh to the Maldives.
Having successfully completed her tenure in Bangladesh, High Commissioner Shakir is going to assume the post of Chief of Protocol at the Maldives Foreign Ministry in Malé.