As the first ever Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov was supposed to visit Dhaka this week.

He was scheduled to visit Dhaka on 23 November to attend a minister level meeting of Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA). But that visit has been cancelled due to ‘schedule complexity’.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said this in reply to reporters’ queries following an event at a city hotel on Sunday morning.

At the time he inaugurated a business forum of the cooperative association of the Indian Ocean countries.

Abdul Momen said, “He (Sergei Lavrov) was supposed to visit, he even said he would come. I have heard he’s unable to manage time because of the schedule. He’s supposed to visit Azerbaijan or somewhere else, but I’ll talk to him on Monday. He had asked for time to talk to me. So, we’ll talk tomorrow.”

It has been learned through the foreign ministry sources that Russia on Saturday formally informed Bangladesh that instead of Sergei Lavrov, Russian ambassador to Bangladesh Aleksandr Mantytsky will represent his country in the IORA meeting.

Keeping Sergei Lavrov’s Dhaka visit ahead, preparations were being taken for a courtesy call with prime minister Sheikh Hasina and a bilateral meeting with foreign minister AK Abdul Momen.  

Russia had said that there would be discussions on the Ukraine situation, geopolitics and the Rohingya crisis alongside various issues related to the interests of the two countries in the bilateral talks.