Hasina-Macron bilateral meeting begins

Prime minister Sheikh Hasina and French president Emmanuel Macron

The bilateral meeting between prime minister Sheikh Hasina and French president Emmanuel Macron has begun at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) on Monday morning. 

Earlier, on his arrival at the PMO at 10:20am, the French president was received by the Bangladesh premier with a flower bouquet. After the bilateral meeting, they will also have a Tete-a-Tete.

A couple of bilateral agreements or Memorandums of Understanding (MoU) are likely to be signed in presence of the two leaders. Later, they will hold a joint press briefing. And, before leaving the PMO, Macron will sign the visitor's book kept there.

Earlier in the morning, he paid homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by placing a wreath at Bangabandhu's portrait and then visited the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi-32.

The visit of French president at the invitation of the Bangladesh premier will be the occasion to "concretise some projects and boost" further economic relations between the two countries.

This is Macron's first visit to Bangladesh and second visit of any French president as former president mitterrand had a tour to Bangladesh between 20 to 24 February, 1990.

The bilateral trade relationship has gone a long way since early 1990. The total trade between Bangladesh and France soared from €210 million to €4.9 billion today with France being the 5th country for export.

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French companies are now involved in various sectors including engineering, energy, aerospace and water sectors. Bangladesh and France hope that the French president's visit will take the friendly relations between the two countries to a new height.

Earlier, prime minister Sheikh Hasina visited France in November 2021 at the invitation of French President Emmanuel Macron.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen earlier said Bangladesh and France would discuss ways to enhance trade and investment between the two countries apart from issues like climate change and regulated migration during the talks.

Climate change and the Rohingya crisis are two major issues to be discussed during the meeting. Macron arrived in Dhaka on Sunday evening on a two-day official visit to Bangladesh after attending the G-20 Summit in New Delhi, India.

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A red carpet was rolled out and national anthems of both the countries were played as Macron was received by the prime minister with a bouquet of flowers at the airport at 8:10pm on Sunday. A guard of honour and 21-gun salute was given to him by the armed forces.

From the airport, he went to the Hotel InterContinental where he later attended an official dinner hosted by the Bangladesh premier in his honour. The French president later went to the Dhanmondi Lake to enjoy the musical show performed by local band Joler Gaan.

Information and broadcasting minister Hasan Mahmud was present at that time. The French president is scheduled to leave Dhaka this afternoon.