Qatar would stand beside Bangladesh to meet its increasing demand of energy as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Sunday (Mar 5) had a meeting with the Emir of the country Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on the sidelines of the 5th United Nations Conference on Least Developed Countries here in the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC).
“... I want to help you (Sheikh Hasina). Qatar will always come to help Bangladesh,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen quoted Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as telling the Bangladesh premier, while briefing reporters after the meeting, local media reported.
Momen said, during the meeting, the PM sought more energy, especially one more million metric tons annually (MTA) of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) from Qatar to face the growing energy crisis induced by the Ukraine war.
“We want your (Qatar) help. Bangladesh faces energy problems due to the Ukraine war. I want more... I will renew the contract. I want more LNG,” the premier was quoted as saying.
In response, the Emir of Qatar asked how much Bangladesh wants. Then he was told that Bangladesh wants another MTA that means 16-17 containers. The Emir said his energy minister would meet the Bangladesh PM to discuss it before she leaves Qatar.
“I’m ordering our energy minister today to meet you (Sheikh Hasina) before you leave here... I want to help you. Qatar will always come to help Bangladesh,” said the Emir.
Now Bangladesh is importing some 40 containers of energy that means 1.8-2.5 MTA.
Sheikh Hasina invited the Emir of Qatar to visit Bangladesh and then Sheikh Tamim said he would visit Bangladesh this year. “I’m giving words that I will visit Bangladesh this year,” he was quoted.
The premier said Bangladesh is setting up 100 economic zones and different countries are making investments there. Qatar can also invest in those economic zones, she added.
About the Bangladeshi workers in Qatar, Sheikh Hasina told the Qatar Emir to take care of them as some workers are losing their jobs here now.
In response, Sheikh Tamim said he always wants the welfare of Bangladesh and Bengali people.
In a separate meeting with UNDP Administrator Achim Steiner at the Bilateral Meeting Room of the QNCC, the PM asked the UNDP to take lead so that the countries which are graduating from LDCs would not lose all international benefits entitled for LDCs at a time.
She said those who are graduating from the LDCs are being punished by withdrawing all types of facilities and benefits. UNDP should do some processing so that the countries do not lose all benefits at a time.
“We should be rewarded for our good performance, but you are giving punishment. UNDP should take a lead,” said the premier.
The UNDP Administrator praised Bangladesh for its development, particularly the development of its rural economy and ensuring the urban facilities in the rural areas as well as its digitalisation.
He said the way Sheikh Hasina is building digital and smart Bangladesh is becoming a new model.
In a meeting with Secretary General of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Doreen Bogdan-Martin at the QNCC, Sheikh Hasina sought technical assistance to ensure cyber security.
Besides, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development Rebeca Grynspan met the Bangladesh Prime Minister separately in the QNCC.
In the meeting, the PM sought support of the UNCTAD to expand and diversify the trade of Bangladesh, and raise the production capacity of the country.
She also attended the LDC5 High-level Luncheon on Investment and partnership at the Exhibition Hall of QNCC.