Qatar Emir due in Dhaka 22 April

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al ThaniFile photo

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is scheduled to visit Bangladesh on 22 April. Alongside discussion on cooperation in the energy sector, export of human resources and trade and commerce will also get prominence during his two-day visit.

Foreign ministry sources said they were taking preparations as about 10 agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) on fuel, export of human resources, enhancing trade and commerce and defence cooperation will be signed after a meeting between the Qatar Emir and Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Diplomatic sources from Dhaka and Doha said that the instruments will include amendment of air service agreement, maritime transport services agreement, withdrawing double tax, duty, higher education, scientific research and joint trade parishad and joint commission.

Besides, Qatar has handed over a draft of an MoU on extradition but it would take time to finalise this instrument, the sources added.

A senior official at the foreign ministry said Qatar’s port management organisation, Mwani Qatar, has shown interest in managing the activities of Chattogram port. An announcement to this end could be made if the Chattogram Port Authority agrees to their proposal.

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen on Wednesday told Prothom Alo the visit of Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Bangladesh in the next month has been finalised. An inter-ministerial meeting on the preparation of this visit was held Wednesday.

Diplomatic sources said Qatar and Bangladesh signed an MoU on defence cooperation in March last year but that has been implemented so far. Enhancing defence cooperation could be raised for discussion during the Qatar Emir’s visit to Bangladesh. Members of the Bangladesh defence forces were to work in Qatar following that MoU.

Besides, Qatar has signed a MoU with the Bangladesh coast guard. Under this instrument, the members of Bangladesh coast guard are currently working in the country.

Wishing not to be named, several senior diplomats said Qatar’s former Emir Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani visited Bangladesh in 2005. Another Emir of Qatar is set to visit Bangladesh after nearly two decades.

A diplomat said diplomatic relations of Qatar with the Arab League, especially other Middle East countries and Arab countries led by Saudi Arabia, dipped in 2017. Saudi Arabia put huge pressure on Bangladesh to take position against Qatar that time but the country maintained a neutral position at that time.

One of the reasons for the stand was that though Saudi Arabia is the largest market to export human resources from Bangladesh, a significant number of Bangladeshi expatriates work in Qatar too. As a result, Bangladesh in fact remained by the side of Qatar between 2017 and 2021. That is why Qatar was pleased with Bangladesh’s stance.

According to this diplomat, the visit of this top leader of Qatar, a politically and economically powerful country among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, is significant in terms of political cooperation between the two countries.