Dialogue in interests of new mutually beneficial relations
Visit to Belarus by Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni should intensify bilateral collaboration
By Vladimir Yakovlev
The People’s Republic of Bangladesh is a large state, almost equal to the Customs Union of Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan in population: over 160m people. Any country, including Belarus, would value its support within the UN and other international organisations.
Both our countries speak against the establishment of a unipolar world order, while protecting the interests of small and young states. Meanwhile, we also share trade interests: Bangladesh is a significant consumer of Belarusian potash fertilisers, with Minsk Tractor Works also finding a niche on the market.
Of course, more opportunities exist, so the major goal of Ms. Dipu Moni’s visit has been to outline these.
“We were expecting this visit,” noted the President of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, warmly welcoming his guest. “We hope that it will lay foundations for strategic partnership. Naturally, your gigantic country is of great interest to us. Bangladesh will primarily find a direct path to Europe through Belarus. Moreover, we share similar approaches on many issues within international organisations and are always ready to return support from Bangladesh.”
Ms. Moni thanked him for the opportunity to visit our state and expressed readiness to discuss a whole range of issues. Importantly, her words had substance, as proven by her tours of several Belarusian enterprises whose produce and technologies could be of interest to Bangladesh. She met the heads of a number of ministries and Belarus’ Prime Minister, Mikhail Myasnikovich. Of course, our country is keen to expand its sales to the strategically important Asian market — especially of mineral fertilisers. Last year, our export revenue from fertilisers reached $131m; this year, no supplies have yet been sold, testifying to the necessity to bring the supplies of potassium into order, which is beneficial to the purchasing country, desperately needing to increase crop yields on its fields, and to Belarus.
Belarus is not looking beyond Bangladesh only as a purely sales market, since we can also share our advanced technologies, aiding industrialisation of this Asian country. Mr. Myasnikovich has offered to construct several plants in Bangladesh, manufacturing agricultural machinery. In its turn, Belarus is ready to build a factory here to produce medicines.
Dialogue will continue later this year, when Mr. Myasnikovich visits Bangladesh. An agreement has been reached but a great deal of preliminary work is needed: the removal of legislative barriers; signing bilateral agreements on the promotion and mutual protection of investments and the avoidance of double taxation. Military-technical collaboration also seems promising.
Significantly, on greeting Ms. Moni, Mr. Lukashenko promised to put aside time to discuss in detail how best to expand trade turnover, with specific goods highlighted. He extended an invitation to the President of Bangladesh to visit our country. “This would benefit our relations,” he underlined.