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Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka, Budapest identify five areas to boost ties

Update : 30 Nov 2016, 10:57 AM
Sheikh Hasina and Victor Orban in the first-ever official talks hinted opening diplomatic missions or consulate by 2018 which had been closed after brutal killing of Bangabandhu in 1975. The meeting between the two prime ministers was held at Hungary's Parliament Building at Kossuth Square for about one hour when they agreed on three deals for cooperation on agriculture, water management and official level consultations for further improvement of cooperation. In a joint press conference after the bilateral talks, both leaders opined that distance would not be a barrier to cooperation between the two countries as they are very close in their hearts. Describing Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as the role model of courage, the Hungarian prime minister recalled the struggle and contribution of her family for prosperity and welfare of the people of Bangladesh. "Bangladesh is far from Hungary, but the country is valuable for us and we have many things to explore from that country," Victor Orban said. He highly lauded Bangladesh's progress in the field of economy under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina saying his country is keenly waiting to strengthen cooperation with Bangladesh in a number of fields particularly in water management, agriculture and climate change. He expressed grave concern over the vulnerability of Bangladesh to climate change and a country frequently affected by flood saying Hungary can support Bangladesh to mitigate its sufferings as the East European nation has experience in dealing the same problem in Sri Lanka, Vietnam and Indonesia. Reciprocating the remarks of Victor, Sheikh Hasina said her government is eagerly waiting to welcome him in Dhaka in the shortest period of time and revival of the relations with Hungary, an economic powerhouse in the heart of Europe. Appreciating Sheikh Hasina's steadfast stance and her 'zero tolerance' policy against terrorism, Victor Orban said terrorism should not be related to any religion, nation or ethnicity. Terrorists should be persecuted, she said. Briefing reporters after the bilateral talks, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Hungary has opened up a "new chapter" for cooperation between the two countries. "Five areas of cooperation were identified in the meeting. These are- agriculture, promotion of trade and investment, climate change and collaboration for implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development," he said. Haque said a working group would be constituted for cooperation in water management including research. "The two countries would also collaborate for the fund proposed by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for research and technological support for water management," he said. As the Hungarian Prime Minister assured Sheikh Hasina of extending support to address the impacts of climate change, the two leaders agreed to find out new projects in this area. Sheikh Hasina highlighted strategic geographical location of Bangladesh and the country's potentials in the areas of economy, trade, investment and agriculture. In this regard, she pointed out the setting up of Special Economic Zones for local and foreign investment. Both the prime ministers decided to explore new areas of cooperation for science and technological innovation, the foreign secretary said. Haque said Hungary would give full-funded scholarship to 200 Bangladeshi students studying medical, technology and agricultural science next year which might continue in future. The foreign secretary said the two prime ministers discussed a wide range of issues relating to mutual interests and common concern including trade and investment, water management and agriculture. Counter terrorism and militancy, migration and refugee issues also came up for discussions. Sheikh Hasina mentioned that Bangladesh, as the current chair, is going to host the 9th Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) next month in Dhaka and hoped that Hungary would participate in that global debate. At the talks, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was aided by Foreign Minister A H Mahmood Ali, Water Resources Minister Anisul Islam Mahmud and LGRD and Cooperatives Minister Khandakar Mosharraf Hossain, while Prime Minister Victor Orban led the Hungarian side that included Minister of State in Charge of Economic Diplomacy Levente Magyar, Minister of Interior Sandor Pinter and Agriculture Minister Zsolt Nemeth. Before the talks, the two leaders held a tete-a-tete for some time. Earlier on her arrival at Parliament Complex, Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban received Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. A smartly turned out contingent of guard regiment presented a guard of honour to her and the national anthems of the two countries were played at that time.
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