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Bangladesh, Brunei agree to strengthen collaboration in energy sector


Bangladesh, Brunei agree to strengthen collaboration in energy sector

Bangladesh and Brunei have agreed to explore mechanisms for long-term collaboration in the energy sector, particularly in the supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and other petroleum products to Bangladesh. This was stated in a joint statement between Bangladesh and Brunei Darussalam on the state visit of Brunei Darussalam Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah to Bangladesh issued in Dhaka on Sunday (Oct 16) evening, local media reported.

Brunei Darussalam acknowledged the contribution of the Bangladeshi expatriates in its continued development process, it said.

Bangladesh and Brunei Darussalam agreed to discuss the possibility of recruiting more workers, including skilled workforce and professionals from Bangladesh to Brunei Darussalam in the relevant sectors, where necessary.

Both the sides agreed to govern the recruitment process in a transparent, orderly and ethical manner.

Bangladesh offered Brunei Darussalam the advantages of the opportunities for investment in the Special Economic Zones of Bangladesh.

Brunei Darussalam took note of the offer and looked forward to discuss potential areas of investment cooperation for the mutual benefit of both countries.

The Southeast Asian nation also invited Bangladesh to consider investing in its economic diversification activities, such as in the food, agriculture and aquaculture industries.

Both the sides identified trade and investment as areas of vital bilateral cooperation and expressed their keenness to work to increase the volume of two-way trade, which is currently far below the potential. 

The two sides also welcomed discussions to explore the possibility of a mechanism between the Ministry of Commerce of Bangladesh and the Ministry of Finance and Economy of Brunei Darussalam to widen cooperation in trade, commerce and investment, as well as to seek support for enhanced business-to-business relations and cooperation. 

Both the sides also agreed to deepen collaboration in the field of Halal trade.

Brunei Darussalam Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu'izzaddin Waddaulah, Sultan and Yang Di Pertuan of Brunei Darussalam made the state visit to Bangladesh on October 15-16 at the invitations of Bangladesh President Md Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. 

This was the first ever visit by a head of state of Brunei Darussalam to Bangladesh. The Sultan was received at the airport by Bangladesh President and accorded a ceremonial guard of honour. He paid tribute to the memories of the martyred Liberation War heroes of 1971 of Bangladesh. 

During the visit, the Sultan met with Bangladesh President at Bangabhaban, who hosted a banquet in his honour. Waddaulah held official talks with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Foreign Minister of Bangladesh Dr AK Abdul Momen paid a courtesy call on the Brunei Darussalam at his place of residence.

The official talks between the Sultan and Prime Minister of Bangladesh was held in a warm and cordial atmosphere, where the two leaders reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral relations. 

The two leaders acknowledged with satisfaction that the relationship has cached a new height with the visit of Prime Minister of Bangladesh to Brunei Darussalam from Apr 21-23, 2019 and the Sultan's first ever visit to Bangladesh in 2022. 

Both the sides agreed to work closely together as development partners in view of the strong commonalities existing in faith, tradition and culture, and shared vision of prosperity, peace and stability.

The Sultan paid tribute to Father of the Nation of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and appreciated the visionary leadership of Sheikh Hasina in the development journey of Bangladesh. 

The PM congratulated the Sultan on his extraordinary leadership in preserving peace, stability and prosperity of Brunei Darussalam and the region.

Both the leaders underscored the need to tap the available synergies and stressed the importance of increased interaction and engagements at various levels between the government agencies, as well as of enhancing people-to-people contacts between the two countries.

The two leaders agreed to strengthen the existing bilateral mechanisms between the two countries, including regular meetings at the level of Foreign Minister.

Both the sides agreed to strengthen cooperation to counter the adverse impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina conveyed gratitude to the Sultan for the support extended to Bangladesh expatriates living and working in Brunei Darussalam during the difficult period of the Covid-19 outbreak.

Recalling the respective MoUs on Agriculture, Livestock and Fisheries Cooperation signed in 2019, both sides acknowledged the ongoing discussion between the relevant authorities in both countries to explore potential projects under these MoUs.

Both the sides looked forward to the convening of the Joint Agriculture Working Committee (JAWC) to be held in November this year in Brunei Darussalam to progress this further.

Both the sides recognised the need for quality education for human resource development Bangladesh appreciated Brunei Darussalam's goodwill by continuing to offer scholarships to Bangladeshi students for higher education. 

They agreed to further deepen and widen the scope of collaboration in the area of higher education for mutual benefit.

In the context of Bangladesh's growing capacity in the healthcare sector, as well as Brunei Darussalam's capacity for modern and advanced medical infrastructures, both sides noted the importance of signing an MoU on health sector cooperation for the recruitment and training of healthcare professionals, specialised services and pharmaceutical services, as well as other potential areas of cooperation that may be of mutual benefit to both countries.

The two leaders also agreed to work in new and emerging areas including ICT, green technology, blue economy, etc for mutual benefit.

Emphasising the value of peace, security and stability for socio-economic development, the two leaders agreed to broaden the scope of existing defence and security cooperation, disaster response and humanitarian operations.

Both the sides stressed the need for air and maritime connectivity to enhance trade, investment, tourism and people-to-people contacts and agreed to encourage the private sector operators to become involved for better connectivity between the two countries.

The two sides agreed to further deepen mutual cooperation in the regional and international fora, including the UN, OIC, the Commonwealth and ARF on issues of mutual interest and common position.

Brunei Darussalam appreciated Bangladesh's continued interest to strengthen its relations with ASEAN and assured its support for Bangladesh's bid to become a Sectoral Dialogue Partner of ASEAN.

Bangladesh expressed gratitude to Brunei Darussalam for its political support for the expeditious repatriation of over a million displaced persons from the Rakhine State, temporarily sheltered in Bangladesh, in a safe, secure, sustainable and dignified manner.

The Sultan appreciated the generosity and hospitality of Bangladesh rendered to the displaced persons and assured that his government would continue to support Bangladesh in seeking a durable solution, with a view to ensuring the overall peace and security of the region.

The two leaders welcomed and witnessed the signing of the following bilateral instruments and expressed their expectations for the early implementation of the provisions as envisaged in those instruments – Air Services Agreement, MoU on the Employment/Recruitment of Bangladeshi Workers, MoU on the Recognition of Certificates Issued Under the Provisions of the International Convention on Standards of Training.

Certification and Watch Keeping for Seafarers 1978, as Amended; and MoU between the Government of His Majesty the Sultan and Yang Di-Pertuan of Brunei and the Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh on the Field of Cooperation in the Supply of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and other Petroleum Products.

The Sultan expressed appreciation to Bangladesh President and Prime Minister and the people of Bangladesh for the warm welcome and generous hospitality accorded to the Sultan and the delegation.

Both the sides reiterated that the visit of the Sultan would usher in a new chapter in the bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Brunei Darussalam.

They expressed optimism for a stronger and deeper partnership for mutual benefit of the two brotherly countries.

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