Dhaka, Phnom Penh agree to boost ties

4 deals signed to foster cooperation after Hasina-Hun Sen official talks

Bss, Dhaka


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Cambodian counterpart Hun Sen look on as Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury and Cambodian Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ouk Rabun sign a Memorandum of Understanding on scientific and technical cooperation in the field of agriculture at the Prime Minister's Office yesterday. Photo: BSS

Bangladesh and Cambodia yesterday agreed to boost bilateral cooperation in the fields of industry, trade, commerce and agriculture.
Dhaka and Phnom Penh reached the consensus at the official talks between the two countries at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) in the capital.
After the talks, both countries signed three agreements and one memorandum of understanding in a bid to advance bilateral ties. 
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and visiting Cambodian Premier Hun Sen witnessed the signing ceremony.
The talks were held in a warm and cordial environment, Hasina’s Press Secretary AKM Shameem Chowdhury and Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque told reporters after the meeting.
The two premiers mentioned that both the countries have similar experiences in the field of struggle for freedom and independence, they said.
Bangladesh and Cambodia have been included in the LDCs and they have similar status in the socioeconomic field as well as in the regional and international forums.
The official talks were mainly focused on three major areas — trade, agriculture and culture, they said, adding that there is a huge potentiality of boosting trade and commerce between the two countries.
The premiers observed that the two countries also had a strong similarity in the fields of education and culture as both are situated in the Ganges- Mekong basin.
There is a situation for creating greater cooperation in the fields of education, culture and tourism centering the Ganges-Mekong Cooperation, the press secretary and the foreign secretary said.
At the official talks, Hasina requested her Cambodian counterpart to extend his cooperation so that Dhaka could join the group.
In response, Hun Sen said he felt encouraged as Dhaka wanted to join the grouping and assured Hasina that he would work to this end.
The two sides agreed to establish a joint commission to identify new areas of cooperation and deepen the existing ties in various areas.
Dhaka and Phnom Penh also reached a consensus on forming a joint trade council to be headed by commerce ministers of the two countries.
It is hoped that a single country fair would be held in Cambodia in 2015, the press secretary and the foreign secretary told reporters.
At the talks, the Cambodian premier assured Hasina that he would support Bangladesh’s appeal to become a "dialogue partner" in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
If Bangladesh could join the grouping as a dialogue partner, the implementation of its foreign policy objectives would be strengthened further, the foreign secretary said.
Earlier, Hasina had a one-to-one meeting with Hun Sen at the PMO.
Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed and Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, among others, were present at the official talks.
Of the three agreements, the first one on the Establishment of a Joint Commission for Promoting Bilateral Cooperation was inked by Deputy Prime Minister of Cambodia Hor Namhong and State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam.
The second agreement on the Promotion and Reciprocal Protection of Investments was signed by Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu and Minister Attached to the Cambodian PM Sok Chenda Sophea.
The third agreement on Cultural Cooperation was penned by Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor and Cambodia Minister for Culture and Fine Arts Phoeurng Sackona.
The lone memorandum of understanding on Scientific and Technical Cooperation in the Field of Agriculture was signed by Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury and Cambodian Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Ouk Rabun.