Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen shared details of the celebrations at a press conference at Foreign Service Academy on Monday.

Bangladesh ready to welcome 5 South Asian leaders

Bangladesh ready to welcome 5 South Asian leaders

Dhaka::Heads of the states and governments of five South Asian countries, including India, will participate in a 10-day programme to be organised on the occasion of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of the independent.

The country is set to put on a festive look ahead of the programme beginning on March 17 at the National Parade Ground in the capital. It is considering visits of the leaders a “historical event” amid Covid-19.

They are likely to sign memorandums of understanding (MoU) with Bangladesh during the time.

At least three MoUs will be signed with India on disaster management, and cooperation between institutions of the two neighbouring nations. Some joint projects may be launched as well. Deals will also be signed with Nepal, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen shared details of the celebrations at a press conference at Foreign Service Academy on Monday.

President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih will join the celebration on 17 March, while Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa on 19 March, President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari on 22 March, Bhutanese Prime Minister Lotay Tshering on 24 March and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 26 March as guests of honour.

President Abdul Hamid will attend events on 17, 22 and 26 March, while Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on 17, 19, 22, 24 and 26 March.

Meanwhile, Chinese President Xi Jinping, French President Emmanuel Macron, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihida Suga and Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau and some high-level leaders of different countries and international organisations said they would send video messages.

On the occasion, cultural teams of the friendly nations will perform in person and send video clips of their performances. Considering the prevailing Covid situation, celebrations will be held with limited guests.

Referring to Modi’s visit, Momen said Modi would have a closed-door meeting with Sheikh Hasina on 27 March. Besides, delegates from the two countries will attend meetings to discuss their shared national interests.

The Maldives President Ibrahim will arrive here on 17 March for a two-day visit with his wife.

The next day, he will have an official talk with Hasina, when several MoUs are expected to be signed to boost bilateral cooperation between the nations, Momen said.

The Maldives is a labour market for Bangladesh, with Bangladeshi migrants making up 20% of the entire population. There is a good possibility of the bilateral relations to improve based on cooperation in business and trade, health, fish farming and tourism, the foreign minister said.

The Sri Lankan prime minister will attend the programme to be held on 19 March at the Parade Ground.

Hasina will have a meeting with Mahinda Rajapaksa on 20 March. They will talk about bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, education and information technology.

Nepalese President Bidhya Devi will land in Dhaka on 22 March in the first-ever presidential visit to Bangladesh.

The five leaders are likely to visit the National Martyrs’ Memorial at Savar, Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 and the main programme at the Parade Ground.

The finance minister said Bangladesh had not invited Myanmar to the programme. Afghanistan is yet to respond to Bangladesh’s invitation.

The minister, however, did not say anything about inviting Pakistan.

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