May 25, 2024, 8:58 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2024-04-21 03:24:35 BdST

Bangladesh, Bhutan hold 3rd Foreign Office Consultations in Thimphu

The third Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) between Bangladesh and Bhutan was held in Thimphu on Friday.

During the FOC, the Bangladesh delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, while the Bhutan delegation was led by its Foreign Secretary Pema Choden, read a press release.

At the event, the whole gamut of bilateral relations was discussed.

Both foreign secretaries expressed satisfaction with the excellent bilateral relations that exist between the two countries. They discussed all the major issues of mutual interests and agreed to promote cooperation encompassing all sectors, especially trade and commerce, health, investment, connectivity, power and energy, tourism, culture and education among others.

Masud Bin Momen urged Bhutan to take necessary measures to rejoin the BBIN MVA framework to promote prosperity through people to people contact.

He raised the issue of Sustainable Development Fees (SDF) for tourists and requested to reduce the current SDF for Bangladeshi tourists. The Bhutanese side assured of positive consideration.

The two sides agreed to work together to enhance tourism and foster people to people contact.

Both foreign secretaries also discussed the means and ways of faster implementations of the decisions taken and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed during the recent visit of the king of Bhutan to Bangladesh.

On her part, Pema Choden put emphasis on the exploration of the untapped potential in economic, cultural and educational areas and proposed to establish meaningful collaborative relationships.

She mentioned that Bhutan would like to pursue more trade and investment cooperation with Bangladesh. She also emphasised mutual efforts to conclude the pending agreements or MoUs. The Bhutanese foreign secretary laid emphasis on the exchange of government and private-level visits between the two countries.

Masud and Pema discussed regional issues of mutual interest and hoped that both countries would continue to work to reinvigorate the SAARC and BIMSTEC processes.

The Bangladesh foreign secretary also called on Bhutan’s Foreign Affairs and External Trade Minister Lyonpo DN Dhungyel at the latter’s office.

During the meeting, they discussed the issues of mutual interests, including trade and investment, special economic zone in Kurigram, power sector cooperation, cooperation in health and education, regional cooperation, etc.

Masud also attended the National Day Reception hosted by the Bangladesh Embassy in Bhutan as a special guest.

He also inspected the progress of the ongoing construction work of the Chancery and Residence Construction project of the Bangladesh Embassy in Thimphu.

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