Bangladesh has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on partnership dialogue with Gulf Cooperation Countries (GCC).
This MoU with six oil rich Arab countries, opens Bangladesh's door of cooperation on various issues including energy, food security, tackling the impacts of climate change, trade and investment.
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and GCC secretary general Nayem Falah M Al-Hajraf signed the MoU on the sidelines of the 'Manama Dialogue-2022' at Manama in Bahrain on Friday.
The members of the Riyadh-based alliance are Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman.
The Bangladesh government initiated a move to increase cooperation in different sectors with the GCC secretariat in Riyadh.
In a press release issued from the Bangladesh embassy in Riyadh, it was said, under this MOU both sides will hold regular consultations for political, economic, cultural, people-to-people contact, climate change, agriculture, food security and environment protection cooperation.
A meeting was held between the foreign minister and the GCC secretary general before the MoU was signed. At the meeting, secretary (East) of the foreign ministry ambassador Mashfee Binte Shams, ambassador of Bangladesh to Bahrain Md. Nazrul Islam, PhD and concerned officials of Bangladesh and GCC were present.
The secretary general thanked the foreign minister for his invitation to visit Bangladesh. He expressed his willingness to visit Bangladesh in due time.
He mentioned that the MoU will work as a legal framework for cooperation between Bangladesh and GCC through a joint action plan, a joint working group and technical team, a joint business council and forums of GCC with Bangladesh.
Foreign minister emphasised that Bangladesh and GCC have lot of scope to work together for skill development, food security, energy security, climate change, crisis management, peace management, afforestation, IT cooperation and PTA/FTA.
Foreign minister Abdul Momen said about five million Bangladesh expatriates working in the GCC have been contributing to the economy of Bangladesh and GCC. There is still scope to recruit skilled migrants in these countries.
The foreign minister said the remittance is the main source of Bangladesh foreign currency. However, the resending of remittance through money laundering and informal channels is harmful both for the economy of Bangladesh and GCC.
He made a call to work jointly with GCC to stop money laundering and sending remittance through the informal channels.
Abdul Momen mentioned GGC and Middle East countries are the suppliers of fuel oil and play an important role in global politics. The peace and stability of this region is very important for all. He discussed with the secretary general about creating an energy security structure for Bangladesh with the GCC.
The foreign minister said, "The food security is a common priority for all countries. Bangladesh's economy is agro-based and we have achieved self-sufficiency in food production."
Bangladesh is interested to work to ensure the food security of GCC and Bangladesh, he mentioned.
Bangladesh exports RMG, jute, leather goods, tea and medicine to different countries. Bangladesh ranks third in producing rice, vegetables and fresh water fish. Bangladesh is currently exporting many products to the countries of GCC.
The foreign minister said there is scope to export quality products of Bangladesh to the GCC market. He made a request for consideration to sign a trade agreement with GCC.
AK Abdul Momen said Bangladesh has provided shelter to about 1.2 million Rohingyas, and expressed gratitude to the GCC countries for providing political and humanitarian assistance to Rohingya. Bangladesh seeks GCC cooperation for safe repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar.