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Dhaka Tribune

Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to touch Dhaka before G20 meeting in Delhi

  • He will arrive in Bangladesh on September 7
  • Bilateral, regional and global issues will be discussed
  • Will meet PM Hasina
Update : 22 Aug 2023, 09:32 AM

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is coming to Dhaka in September for "few hours" ahead of his joining the G20 summit in Delhi on September 9 and 10.

Foreign Minister Dr Ak Abdul Momen confirmed the visit to Dhaka Tribune.

This will be the first visit of any Russian foreign minister to Bangladesh after independence.

"He'll arrive on September 7 night and leave for Delhi in the next day morning. So, basically he will stay for few hours. It's less than 24 hours visit," the foreign minister said.

On September 8 morning, he will call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he said.

The Russian minister was scheduled to visit Bangladesh on November 23 to attend the 22nd Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Council of Ministers meeting held on November 24.

Russia is a dialogue partner of the IORA while Bangladesh is the current chair of the group.

Ahead of the meeting, Lavrov called his counterpart Dr Ak Abdul Momen and expressed his regret for not being able to come to Dhaka due to “schedule complications”.

However, he had expressed his intention to make the visit soon.

Now he will come at a time when the United States is keeping pressure on the government as part of its global effort to isolate Russia following the Ukraine war.

Washington prevented Dhaka from paying back a part of the loan taken from Moscow for the construction of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant.

The government later decided to pay it via Beijing using Yuan, and again received Washington’s objection.

The US declared a visa policy against those who would stand in the way of holding the upcoming general elections free and fair. Russia termed it as “another attempt at blatant interference in internal affairs of a sovereign state”.

During the 1971 war of independence, Russia, then Soviet Union, helped Bangladesh along with India.

Prime Minister Hasina’s visit to Moscow in 2013 was first by a head of government after 1972 when Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman visited Russia.

After that the relations got momentum. Both sides now have agreements for cooperation in defence, trade and energy sectors.

The Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant is regarded as the "signature" initiative between the two countries.

With the inauguration, Bangladesh is soon going to enter the elite club of nuclear power.

Russia's state-owned atomic company Rosatom is helping in the construction. This is a $12.65 billion project, 90% of which is financed through a Russian loan repayable within 28 years, with a 10-year grace period.

Lavrov is representing President Vladimir Putin in different summits including G20 due to an arrest warrant issued against the latter by the International Criminal Court for alleged war crimes in Ukraine.

Nineteen countries - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, the UK, and the US - and the European Union are the members of the G20, founded in 1999.

India is the current president. Bangladesh is also joining the meetings as an invited guest country. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will attend the summit.

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