The ministerial meeting of the Fifth United Arab Emirates-People’s Republic of Bangladesh Joint Committee convened virtually on 15 November 2021. The meeting was co-chaired by UAE Minister of State His Excellency Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh and Bangladesh Minister of Finance the Honorable A.H.M. Mustafa Kamal.
The Joint Committee meeting offered the opportunity for the two sides to discuss bilateral relations and to address ways to advance avenues for cooperation.
In opening the Joint Committee meeting, Al Sayegh congratulated Bangladesh on the auspicious occasion of the Golden Jubilee of its independence and the birth centenary of Father of the Nation of Bangladesh Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
Al Sayegh reflected upon the contributions of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, Father of the Nation of Bangladesh, and the late President and Founding Father of the UAE, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, who together successfully laid the foundation for the cooperative UAE-Bangladesh bilateral relationship that exists today.
Al Sayegh also commended the strength of bilateral political, social, and cultural ties that have grown since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the UAE and Bangladesh in 1974 while underlining the significant opportunities that exist to expand economic, trade, and investment relations. In this regard, it was noted that despite the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, non-oil bilateral trade remained substantial, reaching over USD 1.4 billion in 2020.
Commenting upon the importance of bilateral economic ties, Al Sayegh noted: “As we recover from the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, the UAE is keen to expand our investments in the Bangladeshi market and seek new opportunities for mutual economic benefit for our two peoples.”
Al Sayegh highlighted that the UAE has a particular interest in supporting Bangladesh’s continued economic growth and noted that UAE companies can play a critical role in further developing Bangladesh’s energy, food and agriculture, logistics, and communications sectors, among others.
Beyond discussions on economic engagement, the two sides reaffirmed their commitment to jointly addressing regional and international humanitarian challenges, most notably in reducing the suffering of refugees and preserving their human dignity amid the increasing challenges they face. The UAE underlined its continued desire to provide assistance to Rohingya refugees, including in the important areas of supporting women and children as the most vulnerable populations and focusing on sectors such as food, nutrition, health, education, and environmental sanitation.
Al Sayegh also took the opportunity to extend his appreciation for the substantial support provided by Bangladesh throughout the UAE’s Chairship of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) for the 2019-2021 period. Al Sayegh wished Bangladesh success as it takes on the role of Chair of IORA for the 2021-2023 period, underlining his confidence in Bangladesh’s Chairship agenda of “Harnessing the Opportunities of the Indian Ocean Sustainably for Inclusive Development.”
Both sides acknowledged that the convening of the meeting against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic reflected the spirit of friendship between the leadership and peoples of the two countries and their keenness to advance bilateral relations.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation