PM Hasina’s trip to Saudi, Gambia canceled on security concerns

Prime minister Sheikh HasinaOfficial photo

A scheduled trip of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Saudi Arabia and Gambia has been canceled at the eleventh hour due to security concerns in the Middle East amid the confrontation of Iran and Israel. 

A senior official of the foreign ministry confirmed the cancellation to Prothom Alo on Tuesday, saying the decision came under consideration of security issues. 

The prime minister was scheduled to embark on a trip to Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Gambia from 24 April to 5 May, to foster bilateral ties with the countries and attend some international conferences. 

Different issues concerning the trip were finalised in an inter-ministerial meeting at the prime minister's office (PMO) on Monday, with her principal secretary in the chair.

In this regard, a senior official of the ministry said the decision to cancel the prime minister’s trip to Saudi Arabia and Gambia was taken in the early hours of Tuesday, considering the security issues in the Middle East. 

As per the revised itinerary, the prime minister will fly to Bangkok in Thailand on 24 April and attend the 80th conference of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) there.

Sheikh Hasina will address the closing session of the conference and also hold a bilateral meeting with her Thai counterpart Srettha Thavisin.  

According to the foreign ministry officials, the prime minister was scheduled to depart for Saudi Arabia on 27 April to participate in a special conference of the World Economic Forum in Riyadh. Following the two-day session, she was to hold a meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman Al Saud, followed by a planned visit to Mecca for Umrah. 

Later, she was supposed to visit Gambia on 3 May and attend the conference of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) on 4 and 5 May.