Bangladesh yesterday sought Vietnam's support for a peaceful solution to the Rohingya crisis as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held bilateral official talks with visiting Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang saying the issue was threatening the region's stability.
"We have discussed the Rohingya crisis that threatens peace and stability of our region and I sought Vietnam's support for a peaceful solution to the problem," Sheikh Hasina said while speaking at a joint press statement with the Vietnam President after the talks at the Prime Minister's Office here yesterday morning.
President Tran Dai Quang, she said, expressed his support towards a viable and long-term solution to the problem, reports BSS.
In her statement, the Bangladesh premier said they discussed entire gamut of the bilateral relations in a warm and cordial atmosphere and identified new areas of cooperation.
"Besides cementing our political relations, major focus of our discussion was to enhance trade, investment and technical cooperation," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said the two countries have agreed that the 2nd Foreign Office Consultation as well as the 2nd meeting of the Joint Committee on Trade will be held this year to steer bilateral cooperation initiatives.
"We're also happy that MoUs in areas of Fisheries and Livestock, Machinery Manufacturing and Cultural Exchange Programmes have been signed which would strengthen bilateral cooperation," she said.
The prime minister also referred to her government's keenness to institutionalize the political, trade and economic partnerships with the ASEAN countries as well as to join the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Forum.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina mentioned that she sought Vietnam's support for Bangladesh to become "Sectoral Dialogue Partner" of ASEAN and also for Dhaka's aspiration to join the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation.
The prime minister said she conveyed to President Quang that Bangladesh believes in maintaining peace, stability, and the rule-based order for the seas and oceans, including safety and freedoms of navigation and over flight, in accordance with international laws.
"We support peaceful settlement of all international disputes, including territorial and maritime disputes, in accordance with international laws, including the 1982 Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS)," she said.
The prime minister thanked President Tran Dai Quang for bringing with him a business delegation who would discuss with their counterparts in Bangladesh about ways and means to boost trade and investment in both the countries.
"We encourage entrepreneurs and businessmen of both Bangladesh and Vietnam to explore opportunities in our respective economies," she said.
Sheikh Hasina said as close neighbours, Bangladesh and Vietnam share common aspirations to promote peace and development. "The peoples of both the countries share similar customs, traditions and values," she said.
The prime minister said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the great leader of Vietnam Ho Chi Minh had dedicated their lives for the independence of their people.
"The struggle of Vietnamese against oppressive forces inspired Bangladesh in its War of Independence. As a student leader, I myself led and participated in the protest rallies against Vietnam War in late 60s ... I can still recall the vivid memories of those days," she said.
Thanking President Quang for visiting Bangladesh, the premier hoped that his visit would go a long way in taking Bangladesh-Vietnam relations to new heights.
The Vietnamese President, in his statement, said he and the Bangladesh prime minister held "open and sincere" talks on the bilateral ties as well as regional and international issues of mutual interests.
"At the talks we reiterated maintaining traditional friendship between the two countries and expressed our delight at the encouraging progress in the bilateral relations," he said.
President Quang said they have agreed on further strengthening the 45 years diplomatic ties and put emphasis on unlocking immense potentials of geographical location, natural bounties, youth population and huge market.
He said the two sides have also agreed that they will find suitable measures to create breakthrough and add greater depth, substance and efficiency to their relations in keeping with people's and leaders aspirations and benefits.
On political and diplomacy, he said, the two countries agreed to increase exchanges of delegations at the higher levels as well as bilateral meetings and contacts on the sidelines of multilateral conferences.
"We also agreed to maximize effectiveness of bilateral cooperation mechanism including joint trade sub-committee and political consultation in order to share information and promote implementation of high-level agreement and strengthen cooperation at regional and international forums," she said.
The Vietnam President said, on defence and security cooperation, they agreed to explore cooperation on each other's needs and capabilities, while immediate attention would be given to the areas of defence industry as well as to enhance cooperation in participation at the peace keeping operations.
Both sides are also stand ready to receive military cadets for language studies and specialised programmes, he added.
In this regard, Quang said both sides agreed to increase exchange of information on crimes and terrorism to ensure security of both countries and in the region as well as to promote cooperation on various issues in international forums.
On economic, trade and investment cooperation, the Vietnam President said both sides agreed to encourage and widen business activities, study and tap into each other's potential and propose prospective measures to boost bilateral trade and two-way investments considering potentials and advantages.
In this regard, he mentioned that Dhaka and Hanoi would facilitate bilateral trade as each country has advantages and will look into more potentials in other areas as well as facilitate greater access to information and trade connectivity for the business community.
On cooperation in the field of agriculture, livestock and fisheries, Quang said both the countries need to work closely in mutual support and consider establishment of joint venture associations and production change.
In this regard, the Vietnam President said they put importance on application of high technologies in production, cultivation and preservation to increase value of the exports of each country and protect them from trade barriers when exported to third countries.
On training, culture and tourism, he said, Hanoi will welcome Bangladesh to continue sending its officials to Vietnam for training, exchange their experience on public administration, economic development, agriculture, aquaculture and environmental management.
Quang said Vietnam highly values close cooperation between the National Academy of Public Administration, Vietnam and BPATC in Dhaka for providing training to officials of both the countries.
On South China Sea issue, he said, as members of the 1982 UNCLOS, the two sides agreed to work closely to ensure freedom of navigation and peaceful settlement of all international disputes including territorial and maritime disputes in accordance with the international law.
Quang said, they agreed to ask relevant ministries and agencies for effective implementation of the agreements that they signed today and promote more fruitful and effective growth of Bangladesh -Vietnam relations after 45 years of diplomatic ties.
The Vietnamese President said they also agreed to continue to strengthen exchange of experience and support to each other for mutual prosperity.
On behalf of Vietnam, he extended wish for the state and the people of Bangladesh to have greater success in economy and social development as well as for prosperity of the nation.
Finance Minister Abul Maal Abdul Muhith, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Cultural Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Noor, Fisheries and Livestock Minister Narayan Chandra Chanda, State Minister for ICT Zunaid Ahmed Palak, PM's Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman, Principal Coordinator on SDG at the PMO Md Abul Kalam Azad, Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque and PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, among others, aided the premier during the talks.