Bangladesh, Austria to boost cooperation in trade and investment

Bangladesh and Austria have agreed to boost bilateral cooperation in several sectors, especially in trade and investment.

Sumon Mahbub, back from
Published : 31 May 2017, 08:01 AM
Updated : 31 May 2017, 08:01 AM

The decision was announced after a meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Austrian Federal Chancellor Christian Kern on Tuesday.

Hasina returned to Dhaka on Wednesday morning after her visit to Vienna, where she attended a conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency or IAEA, marking its 60 years.

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque briefed the media on the aircraft carrying the prime minister and her entourage back to Bangladesh. "The two leaders have agreed to further strengthen the ties between the countries."

Hasina was the first Bangladesh prime minister to visit Austria as a head of the government since its independence in 1971, he said.

She, however, has been in the west European country twice.

At a joint media briefing with Chancellor Kern on Tuesday, Hasina said she first visited Vienna in 1969 as a tourist and as the leader of the Opposition in 1993.

Foreign Secretary Haque said the prime minister emphasised on terrorism during the talks with Austrian chancellor.

Hasina said military actions cannot be a permanent solution to terrorism, rather developing a social movement against it would be more effective, according to Haque.

Focusing on finding the cause of terrorism and militancy, the prime minister said sources of supplying arms and finance to the terrorists must be stopped at any cost.

The matter of Myanmar refugees in Bangladesh also came up during the talks.

Hasina told Kern that Bangladesh has given shelter to almost half a million Rohingya refugees.

She said that they have been given shelter on humanitarian ground and that Myanmar must take them back.

The prime minister expressed her dissatisfaction over poor progress on the issue and sought cooperation of the friendly nations to resolve the crisis.

On the issue of trade, Hasina urged the Austrian chancellor for more investments in the Bangladesh, especially apparel industry.

The foreign secretary said the Rooppur nuclear power plant was also discussed.

"The prime minister for the first time sought cooperation of countries other than Russia to construct nuclear power plant saying her government wants to increase nuclear power generation."

Following the official talks, a MoU was signed between Bangladesh and Austria on foreign office consultations to further strengthen and widen the existing bilateral relations in future.

Hasina then went on to meet Austrian President Alexander Van Der Bellen.

Foreign Secretary Haque said the president showed interest on the climate change issue and praised Hasina for signing the Paris accord.

The Austrian president was also keen about Hasina's recent visit to Saudi Arabia, where she attended the 'Arab Islamic American Summit.'

The prime minister said that the leaders held talks on joint initiatives undertaken to stamp out terrorism and militancy.

On Tuesday, Hasina had a meeting with IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano after the conference at the Vienna International Centre.

The IAEA chief told prime minister that his organisation's chairman would visit Bangladesh in July, when will go to the Rooppur nuclear power plant site.