The Bangladeshi diaspora in the United Kingdom has further strengthened the “excellent ties” between the two nations, the British Leader of the Opposition Sir Keir Starmer has said.
The Labour Party leader on Saturday paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who is in the UK to attend the State Funeral of Queen Elizabeth II, at the hotel she is staying, according to Hasina’s press wing.
Hasina expressed deep condolences over the queen’s demise.
They also recalled Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s meeting and personal rapport with the former Labour Prime Minister Sir Harold Wilson.
Hasina thanked the Labour leader for his messages on the occasions of Bangabandhu’s birth centenary and the golden jubilee of Bangladesh’s independence.
Starmer said he was pleased with the growing number of people of Bangladesh origin being elected to offices of the Labour across the UK.
He said Labour was working on “promoting and nurturing” leaders from the young generation that should “attract more British-Bangladeshi youths”.
They discussed the impact of the Russia-Ukraine war, particularly on the Global South.
Hasina stressed the need for resolving the conflict through negotiations to protect common people around the world from crises involving food, energy and financial securities.
She suggested reviewing whether the sanctions imposed in the wake of the war were having negative implications on the people of developing countries.
Hasina and Starmer discussed the war’s potential impacts on bilateral trade relations due to the ongoing inflationary pressures and the cost-of-living crisis.
Starmer said they will continue to advocate for the big retailers in the UK and the West to share the costs with the readymade garment manufacturers.
He appreciated Bangladesh’s handling of the pandemic under Hasina’s leadership and reiterated the Labour Party’s commitment to work with countries vulnerable to climate change like Bangladesh.
Hasina briefed Starmer on the growing burden on Bangladesh due to the prolonged presence of the Rohingya refugees from Myanmar, and the recent flare-up of armed conflicts along the border.
Later, Lord Swaraj Paul of Marylebone also paid a courtesy call.
The veteran member of the UK House of Lords reiterated his appreciation for Hasina's leadership and was keen on extending business and education partnerships between the two countries.