President of the Swiss Confederation Alain Berset arrives in Dhaka on Sunday (Feb 4) on a four-day official visit to boost the ties between the two countries. This is the first time a Swiss president is visiting Dhaka since March 13, 1972, the day when Switzerland recognised the independence of Bangladesh, local media reports said.
The president will be accorded a ceremonial welcome, followed by separate official talks with President Md. Abdul Hamid, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, are expected to accelerate Bangladesh-Swiss relations.
Berset's visit to Bangladesh assumes much significance as Dhaka is seeking global support in mounting pressure on Myanmar to take back over one million Rohingya refugees, who took shelter in Cox's Bazar amid ethnic cleansing in Rakhine State.
It is also important in the context that the Swiss president is coming to express solidarity with Bangladesh over the Rohingya crisis, which will be the major focus of the talks with high government leaders.
According to a Swiss media release, there will be two main aims -- to demonstrate solidarity with a country that is severely affected by the crisis in neighbouring Myanmar, and to establish closer bilateral relations.
On Tuesday, the Swiss president will visit the Kutupalong camp in Cox's Bazar, where Switzerland provides humanitarian aid to the Rohingyas. His programme schedules in Bangladesh also include a meeting with civil society representatives and another with representatives of Swiss businesses active in Bangladesh. He will also visit Dhaka Art Summit of which the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia is a partner.
Bilateral relations between Switzerland and Bangladesh have grown and multiplied since 1972. At present, Bangladesh is one of the priority countries of Switzerland in terms of development cooperation.
Swiss President, wrapping up his three-day visit, will depart Bangladesh on Wednesday.