Bangladesh and UK discussed Rohingya crisis, climate change and trade during the fourth strategic dialogue in London on Thursday
The United Kingdom has recognized Bangladesh’s role as a critical stability provider in the region and its particular relevance in the context of the UK’s integrated foreign, trade, development and security policy review with focus on the Indo-Pacific.
During the fourth Bangladesh-UK strategic dialogue in London on Thursday, both sides agreed to remain engaged in a durable solution for the Rohingya crisis, together with relevant regional and international actors, according to the Foreign Ministry on Friday.
Both delegations exchanged views on the evolving situation in Afghanistan.
During the day-long talks, Dhaka and London reaffirmed their historic and multi-dimensional ties that started on January 8, 1972.
“Bangladesh at 50 and the UK post-Brexit have the opportunity to further energize our bilateral relations in line with our efforts at resetting our foreign policy pursuits towards deeper strategic engagement with key international partners,” said Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, who led the Bangladesh delegation.
British Permanent Under-Secretary of the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) Philip Barton, who headed the UK side, underlined the importance of the two democracies engaging with each other on a range of bilateral, regional and global issues.
The foreign secretary urged the UK to review the current travel restrictions on Bangladesh as a matter of priority, considering the steady improvement in the Covid-19 infection and vaccination rates.
The two sides agreed to further scale up cooperation in genome sequencing of testing samples through relevant Bangladesh agencies.
Both Bangladesh and the UK renewed their commitment to climate action, including by combining forces of the UK’s COP26 presidency and Bangladesh’s leadership of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). The two sides decided to build on the bilateral climate partnership agreed to earlier in the year to help mobilize finances and technologies to support Bangladesh’s efforts in pursuing a low-carbon development pathway.
The two delegations exchanged views on cooperation on education, with particular focus on girls’ education in the aftermath of the pandemic. The UK further explained its new immigration policy, whereby overseas students would have the opportunity to work for two to three years following the completion of their studies. The two sides agreed to explore ways to deepen cross-border collaboration in research and innovation.
The Bangladesh delegation urged the UK to consider continued trade preferential measures following its LDC graduation. The two sides agreed to facilitate further business-to-business connectivity, including through the leading Chambers of Commerce and Industry. Both sides welcomed the launch of the bilateral Trade and Investment Dialogue in February 2021.
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The two delegations renewed their commitment to combat terrorism, promote and protect human rights, and cooperate on aviation, maritime and cyber security. Both sides agreed in principle to initiate a comprehensive dialogue towards building a sound migration and mobility partnership.
The two sides shared interest in commemorating 50 years of establishment of diplomatic relations, including through exchange of high-level visits. The two delegations appreciated the multi-faceted contributions of the Bangladesh diaspora in the UK and agreed to work on issues that are of particular interest to the community.
Dhaka and London also discussed upcoming issues at the United Nations and the Commonwealth.