Bangladesh and Italy have agreed to strengthen mutual cooperation for economic development of the two countries.
The decision came in a bilateral meeting between prime minister Sheikh Hasina and her Italian counterpart Giuseppe Conte in Rome.
They also discussed important regional and international issues, Hasina’s press secretary Ihsanul Karim told the media.
The national anthems of the two countries were played when Hasina arrived at Conte’s official residence Palazzo Chigi palace. The palace guards also gave her a guard of honour.
The two leaders had lunch together after the meeting.
Besides discussing bilateral issues, they spoke if their happiness at the economic relations between the two countries and emphasised strengthening the “friendly” ties.
Conte assured Hasina of considering some proposals she placed in the meeting to enhance cooperation, Karim said.
She invited the Italian premier to the celebration of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s 100th birth anniversary.
“I believe that the bilateral meeting will take the relations between the two countries to a new height,” Hasina said in the meeting, bdnews24.com reported.
She described Bangladesh’s economic achievements and called for Italian business visa services for Bangladeshis to bolster trade.
She urged Italian businesses to invest in the 100 Economic Zones being built in Bangladesh. They can import leather goods from Bangladesh as well, Hasina said.
The prime minister said the Bangladeshis working in Italy are playing a role in the economies of both countries. Her government is committed to preventing illegal migration, she said. Conte also admired the work of the expatriate Bangladeshis.
The Italian prime minister pledged 1.0 million euro for the Rohingya refugees as Hasina reiterated the call for help to mount international pressure on Myanmar to take its nationals back.
Conte praised Hasina for the decision to shelter the refugees.
He also thanked her for standing by the Italians affected by the 2016 terror attack on Holey Artisan Bakery in Dhaka and taking immediate actions. The 17 foreign victims killed in the attack included nine Italians.
Hasina said her government took a zero tolerance anti-terrorism policy. “Public opinion in Bangladesh is also against terrorism,” she added.
Conte said the “successful” meeting opened a new chapter in the bilateral ties.
He praised Bangladesh for achieving significant economic growth.
The Italian prime minister also noted that the two countries will celebrate the golden jubilee of relations in 2022.
He showed interest in cooperation in the energy and defence sectors.
Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, Hasina’s principal secretary Ahmad Kaikaus, Bangladesh ambassador in Italy Abdus Sobhan Sikder and foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen, among others, participated in the meeting.
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