Bangladesh and Ireland sign MoU in Dublin

Ansar Ahmed Ullah
Contributing Editor,Shottobani

London: Bangladesh and Ireland held their first-ever Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) in Dublin on 13 May at the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs. They signed the first Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Biennial Consultations between the Foreign Ministries of Bangladesh and Ireland. Foreign Secretary (Senior Secretary) Ambassador Masud Bin Momen led the Bangladesh delegation, while his Irish counterpart, Secretary-General Joseph Hackett, led the Ireland delegation. Bangladesh’s Ambassador to Ireland, Saida Muna Tasneem, attended the FOC with senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka and Bangladesh High Commission, London. This would be the first time any agreement has been signed in the 52 years of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Ireland.

Commenting on the talks, Foreign Secretary Momen told local media, “I had a very fruitful discussion with my Irish counterpart Ambassador Joe Hackett covering the entire gamut of our bilateral relations including political and humanitarian support demonstrated by the Irish people and politicians during our War of Liberation in 1971 as well as exploring new opportunities for enhancing our bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, gainful employment, migration and mobility, welfare of nearly twenty thousand Bangladeshi Diaspora living in Ireland .”

The Foreign Secretary also paid tribute to former Irish Foreign Minister Seán MacBride, who created an inquiry commission seeking justice on the brutal assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

Recalling the very recent official visit of Irish Enterprise, Trade and Employment Minister Simon Coveney TD to Bangladesh on the occasion of the Irish St. Patrick’s Day, Secretary General Joe reiterated the commitment of the Irish Government towards forward-looking and positive engagements with Bangladesh, including in the areas of trade, investment, recruitment of health professionals and climate change. The Irish Secretary General praised Bangladesh’s tremendous growth and socio-economic progress over the past decade and a half under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and thanked her for her extraordinary humanitarian gesture of hosting more than a million Rohingyas from Myanmar. Secretary General Hackett looked forward to visiting Bangladesh for the second Foreign Office Consultations in Dhaka.

Foreign Secretary Momen underlined the importance of the admission of more Bangladeshi students by Irish universities and recruiting meritorious IT professionals from Bangladesh to the Irish tech industry under the EU Talent partnerships.

The two Foreign Secretaries further underscored the need for opening embassies in their respective capitals at the earliest to maximise the potential of emerging bilateral collaborations.

The two sides also discussed future climate cooperation bilaterally and multilaterally, including the loss and damage fund, adaptation, and investments into renewable energy, especially offshore wind energy plants in Bangladesh.

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