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Comment by the Information and Press Department on the upcoming working visit by Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali

Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali will come to Russia on a working visit on April 12-13 at the invitation of Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. The last time they met was on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly session in New York on September 22, 2016.

Bangladesh is an old and reliable partner for Russia in South Asia. In 1971, Russia supported the struggle for independence in Bangladesh and provided substantial political and economic assistance to it. Bangladeshis remember with gratitude the heroism of Soviet sailors who helped clear the port of Chittagong in the south of Bangladesh of mines and sunken ships between 1972-1974.

Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali will make his visit 45 years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Bangladesh. The ties that developed between them since then are noted for equality, respect for each other’s interests and a high level of mutual trust.

During their talks on April 13, the ministers will discuss the current state and prospects for bilateral relations and exchange opinions on current international and regional issues, including the fight against terrorism.

Russia and Bangladesh are working to strengthen bilateral political dialogue, including at the highest level. The development of all aspects of bilateral relations was boosted by the official visit to Moscow by Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina and her talks with President of Russia Vladimir Putin in January 2013. The agreements they reached bolstered bilateral relations in the main areas of Russian-Bangladeshi cooperation, including in the power industry and military technical cooperation.

Mutual resolve to strengthen partnership in various areas was reaffirmed during a meeting between Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and Ms Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of the 11th summit of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, in July 2016.

The parliaments of Russia and Bangladesh maintain close contact and fruitful cooperation in international organisations, primarily the UN and its specialised bodies.

Trade and economic cooperation is growing ever stronger. In 2016, bilateral trade amounted to $1.44 billion, which nearly equals the record high figure for 2015. Of the total Russian exports to Bangladesh, which equalled $767.2 million, machinery and equipment accounted for 42 percent or $322.2 million, while agricultural products equalled 39.1 percent ($300.2 million). Bangladesh is a major importer of Russian wheat.

The task of strengthening bilateral cooperation has been assigned to the Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic and Scientific-Technical Cooperation. The agreement on its establishment became effective on March 1, 2017.

The main joint project in the power industry provides for the construction of the first Bangladeshi nuclear power station, Rooppur. Its implementation will help modernise and upgrade the country’s power infrastructure. Russia’s involvement will provide jobs for over 100 Russian companies and additional tax revenues for the budget.

Bangladesh is also interested in the Russian expertise in the field of natural gas production. In November 2014, Gazprom EP International B.V. completed the implementation of its obligations under the 2012 contract for drilling 10 wells at gas fields in Bangladesh. In September 2015, the parties signed new contracts for drilling five more wells, which were implemented in November 2016.

The foundation has been created for developing cooperation in culture and education. As of now, 219 Bangladeshi students are studying at Russian universities, 155 of them on federal budget scholarships.