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Saudi Arabia has ‘special place’ in Bangladesh’s foreign policy, envoy says

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has a special place in Bangladesh’s foreign policy, the South Asian nation’s ambassador to the Kingdom said on Monday.

Speaking at a reception at the Cultural Palace in Riyadh to mark Bangladesh Independence Day, which falls later this month, Dr. Mohammad Javed Patwary said: “Saudi Arabia has a very special place in our foreign policy priorities. The spirit of Muslim fraternity and the contribution of expatriate Bangladeshis to the economy of both Bangladesh and the Kingdom are the foundation of our bilateral relations.

“The visionary leadership of both countries are committed to taking this relationship to a new height in the coming days, particularly in the areas of trade and investment, education, health, agriculture, energy and climate change.”

He continued: “Bangladesh is a strong advocate of the culture of peace. That’s why Bangladesh always works for international peace and security to protect human rights and to promote a sustainable development agenda.

“Because of our commitment to the international community, we are the highest troop contributing country to the UN peacekeeping missions around the world for many years.”

Patwary also highlighted Bangladesh’s role in helping tackle climate change.

“As one of the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world, we have been a longstanding advocate of climate action and a sustainable world, emphasizing the scale of the climate crisis and its potential repercussions on humanity,” he said.

The ambassador thanked the Diplomatic Quarter authority for its support in organizing the event and explained that the celebration of Bangladesh’s 53rd Independence Day — which falls annually on March 26 — was being held earlier than usual because of the upcoming holy month of Ramadan.

“I pay my deep homage to the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who led us in our fight for independence in 1971. My special thanks and gratitude goes to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her prudent and visionary leadership (under which) Bangladesh has achieved remarkable progress in various socioeconomic sectors, including poverty reduction, human resources development, women empowerment and reduction of child and maternal mortality rates,” Patwary said.

“We are emerging as a dynamic and fast-growing market with an impressive digital adoption rate. Our GDP has increased manifold in the last decade and a half, and we have already elevated our status to a developing country. Now Bangladesh has a nuclear power plant and we are the proud members of satellite sending countries.

“Our prime minister has announced her vision to make Bangladesh a smart and developed country by 2041. She has also announced a 100-year comprehensive development plan called the Delta 2100 plan for Bangladesh.”

The envoy said he was keen to see even closer ties between Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia.

“We remain committed to seeing our relations growing stronger and warmer in the coming days,” he said.

Riyadh Governor Prince Faisal bin Bandar, undersecretary for the region Dr. Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al-Sudairi and Deputy Foreign Minister for Protocol Affairs Abdul Majeed bin Rashid Al-Samari represented the Kingdom at the gathering.

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