Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina met with Qatar Prime Minister Mohammed bin Abdulrahman bin Jassim Al Thani during the Qatar Economic Forum, where discussions focused on bolstering bilateral relations and enhancing energy cooperation between the two nations.
During the bilateral meeting at the Qatar Economic Forum held in Doha, Qatar, Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina expressed her desire for closer energy cooperation between the two nations. Qatar PM Thani assured Bangladesh of Qatar’s commitment to further strengthen their friendly relations, emphasising their status as true friends. PM Hasina commended Qatar’s assistance in providing stability to Bangladesh and requested their continued support in the energy sector. In response, PM Al Thani affirmed that Qatar would do its utmost to assist Bangladesh with its energy needs.
Strengthening bilateral relations and energy cooperation
During their meeting at the Raffles Tower in Doha, Prime Minister Al Thani expressed Qatar’s keen interest in strengthening its friendly relations with Bangladesh. He hailed Bangladesh as a true friend and praised Prime Minister Hasina for bringing stability to the country. In response, Prime Minister Hasina expressed Bangladesh’s desire for closer energy cooperation and requested Qatar’s assistance in meeting the nation’s energy needs.
“We want you (Qatar) to assist us with energy,” stated Prime Minister Hasina, emphasizing the importance of Qatar’s support in fulfilling Bangladesh’s growing energy demands. In reply, Prime Minister Al Thani assured Bangladesh of Qatar’s commitment to assisting as much as possible.
Assurances for Bangladeshi workers and energy contracts
Concerns regarding the job security of Bangladeshi workers in Qatar following the FIFA World Cup 2023 were also addressed during the meeting. Prime Minister Al Thani underlined the significance of Bangladeshi workers, referring to them as valuable assets and friends of Qatar. He pledged Qatar’s efforts to retain as many workers as possible within the country.
Additionally, Prime Minister Hasina and Qatar’s Minister of State for Energy Affairs, Saad bin Sherida Al Kaabi, discussed the signing of a fresh contract for the supply of liquefied natural gas (LNG) to Bangladesh. While the existing 15-year agreement signed in 2017 remains in effect until 2032, a new contract is necessary to meet Bangladesh’s increasing energy requirements after 2025. Prime Minister Hasina urged for the prompt signing of the contract, particularly focusing on resolving pricing-related issues.
Bangladesh-Rwanda relations and investment opportunities
In a separate meeting on the side-lines of the Qatar Economic Forum, Prime Minister Hasina engaged with President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame. The President expressed admiration for Bangladesh’s remarkable development journey and expressed his desire to visit the country. Acknowledging Prime Minister Hasina’s effective governance, he proposed establishing air connectivity between the two nations and increasing Bangladeshi investment in Rwanda. President Kagame invited further investments across various sectors, citing the recent opening of a pharmaceutical factory by a Bangladeshi company in Rwanda.
Prime Minister Hasina praised President Kagame’s leadership, highlighting Rwanda’s favourable position within Africa. She stressed the importance of cooperation in addressing global challenges, specifically referencing the Ukraine-Russia conflict and its implications for countries like Bangladesh and Rwanda. President Kagame echoed the sentiment, emphasizing the need to strengthen bilateral cooperation between the two nations.
Confidence in repaying IMF Loan
During her participation in the Qatar Economic Forum, Prime Minister Hasina expressed confidence in Bangladesh’s ability to fulfil its commitments to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Referring to the IMF’s approval of $4.7 billion in loans for immediate disbursement in January, she affirmed that Bangladesh took the loan with the assurance of utilizing it effectively and repaying it as scheduled. Prime Minister Hasina stressed Bangladesh’s economic stability and determination to overcome existing challenges.
Exploring oil imports from Russia
Amidst Bangladesh’s efforts to diversify its energy sources and address economic challenges, Prime Minister Hasina disclosed the country’s consideration of purchasing oil from Russia if favorable pricing is offered. This strategic exploration of alternative suppliers aims to enhance energy security and optimize import arrangements.
To conclude, the Qatar Economic Forum provided a platform for Bangladesh and Qatar to deepen their bilateral relations, strengthen energy cooperation, and explore avenues for economic growth. With both nations committed to fostering a prosperous future, Prime Minister Hasina expressed optimism about the prospects of Bangladesh’s energy security and economic stability.
Photo Credit: Yeasin Kabir Joy