Bangladesh and Sweden agreed to work together to upgrade their cooperation to a ‘broader relationship’ in the coming days. Ways and means to that effect was extensively discussed as the Foreign Offices of the two countries met for the first round of Political Consultations at State House Padma in Dhaka this morning.
Ambassador Kamrul Ahsan, Secretary (Bilateral & Consular), led the Bangladesh side in the consultations while Swedish side was headed by Ambassador Cecilia Ruthstrom-Ruin, Head of the Department for Asia and the Pacific in Swedish Foreign Office.
The Foreign Ministers of the two countries signed a MoU in Stockholm in September 2016 for holding of regular Consultations between the two Foreign Offices.
The first round of Consultations went off in a cordial atmosphere and covered a wide range of bilateral issues and regional and international issues of mutual interest. Bilateral trade and investment figured prominently in the discussion in view of Bangladesh’s scheduled graduation from LDCs in 2024 and Sweden’s genuine interest in having robust economic relations with Bangladesh.
Bangladesh side recalled Sweden’s, particularly the then Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme’a strong voice of support for our Independence in 1971 under the leadership of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and subsequently Sweden’s development assistance for the reconstruction of the war-ravaged economy. Swedish side appreciated Bangladesh’s tremendous socio-economic development over the past one decade under the visionary leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and outlined Sweden’s future strategy of development cooperation with Bangladesh.
Rogingya issue was discussed with due importance as Bangladesh side appreciated Sweden’s strong political and humanitarian support for the forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals. Swedish side expressed deepest appreciation for Bangladesh’s generous hosting of the displaced Rohingyas fleeing atrocities in Myanmar. They also vowed to remain seized in terms of humanitarian and political support including the issue of accountability on the part of Myanmar.
Among other issues, Sweden’s Global Deal initiative, SDGs implementation, Climate Change, good governance and human rights, migration including Global Compact for Migration (GCM), peacekeeping and peace building, countering terrorism and violent extremism, regional issues of mutual interest and UN reform formed the discussion.
The next round of Consultations will take place in Stockholm at a mutually convenient date.