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Dhaka Tribune

PM Hasina to meet Italy’s Meloni Tuesday, sign 2 MoUs

Bangladesh is keen to deepen its relations with Italy in multiple areas including trade and investment

Update : 20 Jul 2023, 07:51 PM

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will have a bilateral meeting with her Italian counterpart Giorgia Meloni in Rome on Tuesday during her three-day visit to attend an FAO conference.

Two memorandums of understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation and cultural exchange would be signed during the meeting, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said on Tuesday while briefing journalists on the visit.

Dhaka Tribune

State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Seheli Sabrin were also present at the briefing.

The prime minister is set to leave Dhaka for Rome on Sunday, and return on July 26.

The UN Food Systems Summit +2 Stocktaking Moment will take place from Monday to July 26 at the premises of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in Rome.

It will be hosted by Italy, in collaboration with the Rome-based UN Agencies (FAO, IFAD, WFP), the UN Food Systems Coordination Hub, and the wider UN system.

Heads of states, ministers, agriculture scientists, and food-related stakeholders will attend the conference.

Bangladesh is keen to deepen its relations with Italy in multiple areas including trade and investment, technological intervention in Bangladesh's textile sector, cooperation in defence and security, ICT, agriculture, migration, and mobility. 

During the first foreign office consultation last month, Italy agreed to take skilled workers from Bangladesh under bilateral migration and mobility arrangements, particularly for the Italian construction, shipbuilding, and hospitality sectors.

At present, over 46% of workers under the Flussi Decree are coming to Italy from Bangladesh for seasonal and non-seasonal work. However, there are some Bangladeshi who live there illegally.

The foreign minister said during the meeting, the prime minister would thank her counterpart for Italy's interest to take more workers.

"At the same time, she will discuss the issue of regularizing those who live there illegally," he said.

Bangladesh is also eager to enhance relations in the areas of trade and investment and defence cooperation.

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said: "Italy is famed for small scale industries. That's why they can absorb economic shocks. We want to learn from that. They are also showing interest. So we would like to capitalize on that.

With the MoU of “cooperation in the field of energy”, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen supplemented, Bangladesh would like to find options to diversify its import sources.

"We were reliant on the Middle East. Recently, we imported from Southeast Asian countries. Italy can be a source for that," he said.

At the FAO event, the prime minister will speak as a special invited guest. UN Secretary General António Guterres will also attend the session.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also scheduled to attend a plenary session on 'food system and climate action'. 

IFAD, WFP executive directors will also call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

A diplomatic briefing will also be arranged during the visit for the Bangladeshi diplomats in European countries. 

In this regard, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said: "This is routine work that we do when we go to a country. We call our diplomats of the region. The prime minister will give them directives for their day-to-day works.

Ministers for agriculture, foreign affairs, and food, adviser for private industry and investment, and state ministers for power, energy and mineral resources, and cultural affairs will accompany the prime minister.

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