Afghan President Visits Qatar To Discuss Peace
Afghanistan’s president landed in Qatar Sunday to discuss his country’s stalled peace process and the possible opening of a Taliban office in the Gulf state, officials said.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Janan Mosazai said President Hamid Karzai will not hold any talks with Taliban representatives now in Qatar.
He will meet with Qatari officials on the sidelines of an annual conference on relations between the United States and the Muslim world.
“As we have already said, any official negotiations regarding peace with the Taliban can take place only between the high-ranking Taliban representatives and the High Peace Council of Afghanistan,” Mosazai told reporters.
Myanmar says President to make official US visit
Myanmar’s reformist President Thein Sein will visit the White House next week, the first such trip by a Myanmar head of state in almost 47 years and a sign of warming ties.
Myanmar state television announced the U.S. visit Monday, saying it comes at the invitation of President Barack Obama. It gave no exact date, but congressional staffers in Washington who were briefed on the upcoming trip said Thein Sein would meet Obama May 20.
The last Myanmar leader to visit the White House was the late dictator Ne Win in 1966.
South Africa President Jacob Zuma met and held discussions Monday with Lesotho Prime Minister, Thomas Thabane, in an effort to promote the African Agenda and strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
“Bilateral cooperation between South Africa and Lesotho spans a wide range of areas including, but not limited to, trade and investment, security, energy, transport, agriculture, tourism, water and environment,” the Presidency said in a statement on Monday.
The Presidency said the two leaders reaffirmed the historical and cultural relations that exist between the two sisterly countries.
“They committed themselves to working together in the implementation of the joint projects in the areas of water, energy and tourism,” the Presidency said.
South Africa recently hosted the Joint Bilateral Commission for Cooperation (JBCC) with Lesotho, where wide ranging bilateral, regional and international issues were discussed.
Obama, Putin set up two rounds of talks
U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday set up two rounds of talks in coming months in a bid to move past a fight over human rights and seek common ground on issues such as Iran, Syria and North Korea.
The announcement of an Obama-Putin summit in early September, added to plans for a meeting at a G8 summit in Northern Ireland in June, suggested the two leaders want to revive the momentum from a reset in relations despite tensions over the so-called Magnitsky List.
Canada opens first diplomatic mission in Iraq in 22 years
Canada’s foreign minister made a surprise visit to Iraq on Monday to meet with Iraqi leaders and open the country’s first diplomatic mission in Iraq in more than two decades, saying the Canadian government intends to expand its engagement with the war-torn country.
Foreign Minister John Baird landed in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad on Monday morning, marking the first trip to Iraq by a Canadian foreign minister since 1976. He met with with a number of senior officials in the Iraqi government, including Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and parliament speaker Usama al-Nujayfi.
The highlight of the brief visit was the opening of a small diplomatic mission in Baghdad. The new mission, co-located in the British Embassy under an agreement signed last year with British Foreign Secretary William Hague, will be an offshoot of the Canadian embassy in Jordan.
“Today’s opening is a historic milestone in Canadian relations with Iraq and comes at a pivotal moment,” Baird said, adding that Iraq is “one of the fastest-growing economies in the world” despite deep and lingering sectarian tensions. It marks Canada’s first diplomatic mission in Iraq since it closed its embassy in Baghdad in 1991.
“With conflict raging in neighboring Syria, with [Iran’s] Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s regime relentlessly pursuing sectarian hegemony and nuclear ambitions, and with a NATO ally and economic partner bordering Iraq’s north, today’s opening here in Baghdad expresses Canada’s intention to expand our engagement with a key regional player,” Baird said.
Israel and Turkey agree to restore diplomatic ties
Israel and Turkey agreed to restore full diplomatic relations on Friday after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized in a phone call for a deadly naval raid against a Gaza-bound international flotilla in a dramatic turnaround partly brokered by President Barack Obama.
Joint interests between the two countries, including fears that the Syrian civil war could spill over their respective borders, and some cajoling by Obama made the time ripe to repair the frayed relations after nearly three years of acrimony over the deaths.
It was a surprising turnaround for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu who had long rejected calls to apologize. He announced the breakthrough after a 20-minute phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Obama helped broker the fence-mending while visiting Israel, but the sides had been reaching out to each other before.
“They agreed to restore normalization between Israel and Turkey, including the dispatch of ambassadors and the cancellation of legal steps against Israeli soldiers,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said. Netanyahu “regretted the recent deterioration of relations between Israel and Turkey and expressed his commitment to overcoming their differences in order to advance peace and stability in the region,” it said.
Serbia and Kosovo presidents hold rare talks
The presidents of Serbia and Kosovo have met for the first time in talks mediated by the European Union in Brussels to mend their strained ties.
Wednesday’s meeting was characterised as “open and constructive”, by Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief, after separate meetings with Tomislav Nikolic, the Serbian president, and his Kosovo counterpart Atifete Jahjaga.
Both “assured me of their continued support and commitment” to EU-sponsored talks aimed at normalising ties since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia in 2008.
“I reaffirmed the European perspective for both Serbia and Kosovo and encouraged both sides to continue with the efforts needed for further progress towards the European Union,” Ashton said in a statement.
Though no concrete announcements were made, this first top-level meeting marked a significant step in two years of EU efforts to ease tension in the Western Balkans.
The EU is pressing both sides to mend ties, before the bloc moves ahead with Serbia’s bid to join.
“The handshake will be highly symbolic, very important,” said an EU diplomat who asked not to be named.
The meeting comes nearly 14 years after the end of the 1998-1999 conflict between Belgrade and Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian separatist guerrillas.
Serbia lost control over Kosovo in 1999 after NATO launched air strikes against Serbian military and police forces accused of trying to purge Kosovo of ethnic Albanians to put down the uprising.
Easing border controls
Belgrade refuses to recognise Kosovo’s sovereignty, which is backed by over 90 countries including the United States and most EU members.
President Nikolic said there was no question of Belgrade “recognising an independent Kosovo”, and that he favoured “a wide institutional autonomy” for ethnic Serbs in northern Kosovo.
“If Pristina’s position stays firm, that they are an independent state, then we will hardly reach an agreement,” he told reporters.
The Kosovo leader, a former police commander elected to office in 2011, said that the talks were “the expression of our interest for good neighbourly relations. Our countries benefited, but the whole region as well”.
The prime ministers of the two countries, who hold executive powers, have already met four times in Brussels since October, with Ashton as mediator.
Their next talks are slated for February 22.
The EU-brokered dialogue between the former foes has focused on easing difficulties for people on both sides by easing border and customs’ controls or mutually recognising each others’ university diplomas.
But at stake for Serbia in the longterm are hopes of joining the EU.
Shortly both sides will post so-called “liaison officers” in their respective capitals to boost communication, a key development.
The most sensitive and complex issue is Belgrade’s hope for some autonomy for the Serbs of northern Kosovo, as well as for 80,000 others in enclaves scattered throughout Kosovo.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation will today host the inaugural meeting of the South Africa-Philippines Bilateral Consultative Forum (BCF).
The meeting comes after the signing of the agreement between the two countries on the side-lines of the 67th Session of the United Nations General Assembly that took place in September in New York.
The BCF serves as an instrument for structured bilateral consultations with the aim of advancing cooperation between the two countries, according to a statement by the department.
“The focus of the meeting will be on strengthening relations with the Philippines, specifically in the areas of trade, investment, tourism and culture.
“Further discussions are expected to centre on issues of mutual interest in terms of regional and multilateral developments, as well as on new areas of possible cooperation,” the department said.
South Africa’s formal diplomatic relations with the Philippines date back to November 1993 with the Embassy of the Philippines in Pretoria established in June 1994. South Africa in turn established an Embassy in Manila 10 years later.
Both countries are influential in organisations of the South, including the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 and China (G77).
The presidents of Sudan and South Sudan have committed themselves to implementing the cooperation agreement they signed in September of last year, following a meeting held with several African leaders in Addis Ababa on Sunday.
Presidents Omer Al-Bashir and Salva Kiir took part in a meeting organised by the Ethiopian prime minister on the sidelines of the African Union (AU) summit in Addis Ababa, attended by the presidents of South Africa, Cote d’Ivore, and Nigeria on Sunday 27 January four months after the signing of the cooperation agreement.
The meeting was organised following the failure of the two parties to reach a compromise on the implementation of a security deal in a meeting they held last week in Addis Ababa. The two sides also failed to establish local administrative bodies for Abyei.
Before their African counterparts, the two leaders vowed to seek seriously to implement the cooperation agreement and to observe the outcome of the AU Peace and Security Council (AUPSC) meeting held on Friday 25 January at the level of heads of states and governments.
The meeting aimed to put pressure on the two sides, while the AUSPC opted not to refer the issue of Abyei to the UN Security Council (UNSC), preferring instead to keep the issue within the remit of the AU.
In a statement released on Saturday, the regional security body expressed concern over the persistent differences in the implementation of the cooperation agreement, and underscored the different interpretations of the signed deals.
Besides constant disagreements over, Abyei, as well as alleged relations between the South Sudanese government and the SPLM-N rebels north of the border, the two countries recently showed divergent points of view over troop withdrawals in “Mile 14”, a disputed area on the common border.
In a speech at the opening session of the AU meeting,UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon said the two neighbours “have taken positive steps to resolve outstanding issues, but they should make more progress in meeting their agreements”.
He also called on Sudan and South Sudan to engage in talks over the “dangerous” humanitarian situation in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile states and to agree on ways to reach the affected civilians in the two states.
Sudan refuses to allow humanitarian access to SPLM-N-held areas in the two regions from neighbouring South Sudan or Ethiopia as the rebels have proposed.
On Sunday, president Bashir also discussed the ongoing process between Sudan and South Sudan with chief mediator Thabo Mbeki, who has worked since 2009 to finalise a peaceful settlement on the differences between Khartoum and Juba.
In a statement to Sudan’s official news agency (SUNA), Mbeki said that the meeting was part of continued consultations with the two presidents Bashir and Kiir over the implementation of the agreements the two countries signed.
The mediator also met with the South Sudanese president to discuss the same issues.
In Khartoum, the ruling National Congress Party (NCP) reiterated that Juba must cut its ties with Sudanese rebels before it allows the exportation of its oil through its territory to resume.
However, it also highlighted the Sudanese government’s commitment to continued talks on the disputed issues within the African framework and reaffirmed its rejection of foreign pressures to allow the exportation of South Sudanese oil.
NCP spokesperson Badr Al-Deen Ahmed Ibrahim expressed hopes the six-month period given to mediation efforts by the AUSPC would be enough to overcome the obstacles hampering the implementation of the cooperation agreement.
Ibrahim also rejected British conditions to write off its debts to Sudan. He said Khartoum signed deals with Juba without “dictates or blackmailing”, adding those who appreciate his government’s efforts should support Sudan without conditions.
The NCP official was reacting to statements by British minister for international development Lynne Featherstone, who was in Sudan last week. Prior to leaving the country on 23 January, she urged Sudan to enforce the agreements signed with South Sudan, end harassment of civil society groups and allow more freedoms in the country.
Bangladesh and India on Monday signed an extradition treaty and struck a deal to relax business visa restrictions between the neighboring countries.
The extradition treaty could pave the way for Bangladesh to put on trial several crime bosses who crossed the border into India but are still running their gangs by telephone, a senior official at Bangladesh’s Home Affairs Ministry told Reuters.
It could also help India bring back fugitive separatists who have fled to Bangladesh including Ulfa leader Anup Chetia.
“We are particularly grateful as the treaty will deal with Indian insurgent groups,” Indian Home Minister Sushilkumar Rao Shinde told reporters at a joint press conference.
“Both sides committed to act against elements inimical to both countries,” he said.
India has long been pressing for Chetia’s deportation. He has been in a Dhaka jail since his arrest in 1997 on charges of entering Bangladesh without valid documents.
The travel agreement between India and Bangladesh will allow business visas to be valid for up to five years instead of the current one year.
“Such an arrangement will help to boost the trade and business of Bangladesh with India,” saidMahbubur Rahman, president of the International Chamber of Commerce of Bangladesh.
“If Bangladeshis can travel freely, and the exporters can get their payment freely, then in less than 10 years Bangladesh’s exports can be tripled to that country,” Rahman said.
Suu Kyi meets Park Geun-hye, South Korea’s first female leader
Both women lost their fathers to gunshots. Both also overcame that tragedy and rose to political prominence in countries where men dominate decision-making, buoyed in part by the legacies of their fathers.
Aung San Suu Kyi, the opposition leader whose 2010 release from house arrest signaled the beginning of Myanmar’s transition from decades of military rule, met Tuesday in Seoul with Park Geun-hye, who takes office next month as South Korea’s first female president. Details were not immediately available.
The meeting between two of the most prominent women in Asia spotlights a tragic coincidence in their family history: Suu Kyi’s father, Gen. Aung San, was killed by assassins in 1947 while Park’s, President Park Chung-hee, was assassinated by his intelligence chief in 1979.
Both women have benefited from their late fathers’ reputations. Even as she has blazed her own political trail, the 67-year-old Suu Kyi represents to many of the voters who sent her to parliament last year a link with her father, a legendary independence hero. Park, who is 60, enjoys strong support among older South Koreans with memories of the rapid economic growth during her father’s rule.
Suu Kyi’s trajectory, however, has been one of a dissident, while Park has built a political career as a ruling party lawmaker owing much to her father, a dictator who took power in a 1961 coup and ruled South Korea with an iron fist until he was killed 18 years later.
“Park carries family baggage that sets her away from the image of the pro-democracy movement, while Suu Kyi stands on the other side as an icon of democracy,” said Lee Shin-hwa, a professor of political studies at Korea University in Seoul.
Democracy has firmly taken root in South Korea since the death of Park’s father and a peaceful transfer of power more than a decade later. Myanmar, with a reformist government in place but the military still in the background, is nurturing a fragile democracy.
The meeting between Suu Kyi and Park will be the latest in a series of high-profile exchanges between their countries, including reciprocal visits last year by South Korean President Lee Myung-bak and Myanmar’s President Thein Sein, both heading delegations keen on bolstering economic cooperation. Thein Sein also promised Lee in May that his country would no longer purchase arms from North Korea, a foreign policy shift welcomed by Seoul.
Lee’s visit was the first by a South Korean leader since 1983, when North Korean agents bombed a delegation visiting Myanmar, killing 17 South Koreans and four others but missing then-President Chun Doo-hwan.
During her five-day trip, Suu Kyi is scheduled to attend the opening of the Special Olympics, a biennial global event that South Korea is hosting in the alpine town of Pyeongchang for the first time, organizers of her trip say. The 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate will then receive a human rights award in the city of Gwangju, where a 1980 uprising was crushed with deadly force by the then-military government.
In show of friendship, Germany and France pledge deeper union
Meeting on the 50th anniversary of the pact sealing their post-war reconciliation, the leaders of Germany and France vowed to bridge differences on the shape of Europe’s currency union and unveil joint proposals on deeper integration within months.
Angela Merkel, a conservative, and Francois Hollande, a socialist, have had an uneasy relationship since the French president swept into office eight months ago vowing to reverse German-backed austerity policies designed to shore up the crisis-hit euro zone.
But the two leaders, born less than a month apart in the summer of 1954, stressed their common values and hailed the importance of the Franco-German partnership after centuries of conflict that culminated in two world wars and led historians to speak of a “hereditary enmity”.
“The young people of our countries have the great fortune to have never known anything but peace and democracy,” said Hollande, speaking in the Reichstag building in Berlin to a joint session of parliament.
But he added that the youth now faced “an economic and social crisis of unprecedented duration”, requiring common efforts to boost economic output and create jobs.
Merkel, speaking earlier at a joint news conference with Hollande, said the leaders would tackle one of the most divisive issues between the two countries - deeper economic and fiscal integration - and present joint proposals before a summit of EU leaders scheduled for June.
She also said she would support a French candidate to run the new European bank supervision body that is to become operational next year, under the umbrella of the European Central Bank.
The three-year-old debt crisis that started in Greece and even threatened to envelop France at its peak has exposed structural deficiencies in Europe’s grand currency experiment, forcing its members to consider closer cooperation.
But Berlin and Paris have starkly different visions of what a closer currency union should look like, with Merkel favoring tighter central controls over budgets and Hollande seeking more solidarity, in the form of a big euro zone budget to deal with economic shocks.
“It is about a deeper cooperation in economic policy with the goal of social security, employment, growth and financial stability,” Merkel said of the joint proposals that are to be presented by May.
The Treaty of Friendship signed at the Elysee Palace in Paris in 1963 by Germany’s Konrad Adenauer and France’s Charles de Gaulle buried the hatchet almost two decades after World War Two ended.
Perhaps the most powerful image of reconciliation came in 1984 when Helmut Kohl and Francois Mitterrand - mentors of Merkel and Hollande - held each other by the hand at the site of the Battle of Verdun, where 700,000 of their countrymen died in World War One.
They went on to lay the foundations of Europe’s economic and monetary union, a project that France hoped would harness German power after reunification in 1990.
The return of a French Socialist government under Hollande has led to tension between Paris and Berlin.
But after a brief flirt with Italy and Spain in mid-2012 that spawned talk of an anti-German southern bloc within Europe, Hollande has turned back to Berlin, keen not to be lumped too closely with the euro’s troubled periphery at a time when France’s own economy is wobbling and in need of reform.
After six months of earnest handshakes, the two leaders now kiss each other on the cheek when they meet. At a dinner in the chancellery on Monday, they began using the familiar “du” and “tu” form with each other, according to aides.
Hollande pointed to the fiscal compact on budget discipline, a December deal on banking supervision and the agreement to keep Greece in the euro zone as fruits of his strong relationship with Merkel.
“It has not escaped you that we do not belong to the same political family. Despite that, if you look back at the past eight months, I’m very happy with what France and Germany have been able to accomplish to get the euro zone out of its crisis,” the French leader said. “If you look at the results, it’s clear we’re on the same wavelength.”
Merkel, who refused to meet with Hollande during last year’s French election campaign while openly supporting his conservative opponent Nicolas Sarkozy, said: “It may be our best-kept secret that the chemistry actually works.”
As part of the festivities to mark the anniversary, Merkel and Hollande answered questions for over an hour on Monday evening from some 200 French and German students. Later on Tuesday they will attend a concert at the Berlin Philharmonic.
In a joint declaration, they said they would encourage unions, employers and workers in their countries to establish joint working groups to make proposals on competitiveness.
The leaders also touched on France’s military intervention in Mali, with Hollande thanking Merkel for offering political and material support, including the use of two transport planes to fly West African troops to the capital Bamako.
“We know this is a difficult military mission that France is undertaking at the moment for all of us,” Merkel said.
Russia meets with Syrian envoy on peace plan
Russia is seeking to revive last summer’s failed peace plan for Syria during talks with a top Syrian diplomat and the international envoy on the crisis, the foreign ministry said Thursday.
U.N.-Arab League envoy Lakhdar Brahimi met with Syrian President Bashar Assad in Damascus on Monday and is to visit Moscow this weekend, spurring speculation that there is a new plan to end the country’s bloody civil war that has killed more than 40,000 people.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich denied reports of the existence of a new U.S.-Russian peace initiative, saying Russia is focused instead on fulfilling the plan brokered by Brahimi’s predecessor, Kofi Annan, which was approved at an international conference in Geneva in June.
“We are trying to find a solution on the basis of the Geneva plan,” Lukashevich said. “We continue to believe that there is no alternative to that document in trying to find a settlement in Syria.”
The plan envisioned an open-ended cease-fire to be enforced by hundreds of U.N. monitors, followed by talks on a political transition. It called for establishing a transitional government of national unity that could include members of Assad’s government, the opposition and other groups to oversee the drafting of a new constitution and elections.
But, on Russia’s insistence, it left the door open for Assad being part of the transition process and was rejected by the opposition. After an initial decrease in violence, the proposed cease-fire collapsed and Syria descended even further into bloodshed.
Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad met Thursday with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to pave the way for Brahimi’s visit. Mekdad is expected to hold talks with other top Russian diplomats later.
Russia has used its veto right alongside China at the U.N. Security Council to protect its old ally from international sanctions, but it has increasingly sought to distance itself from the Syrian strongman.
Lavrov said last week that Moscow would welcome any country’s asylum offer to Assad, but has no intention of sheltering him if he steps down.
At the same time, Moscow has given no signal of a shift in its firm opposition to international sanctions against Assad and calls for him to step down.
Lukashevich said again Thursday that calls for Assad’s ouster run contrary to the Geneva plan and criticized the West for backing the opposition push for the regime’s ouster.
He reaffirmed that Moscow has plans to evacuate its citizens if the situation worsens, but rejected reports that a Russian navy squadron en route to the Mediterranean has such a mission.
Thailand and Cambodia have agreed to jointly develop connectivity and tourism in order to facilitate the travel of tourists visiting both countries.
They have announced the implementation of the ACMECS single visa, effective on 27 December 2012. ACMECS stands for the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy. Member countries include Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam.
The announcement on the ACMECS single visa was made at the end of the Eighth Meeting of the Joint Commission for Bilateral Cooperation between the Kingdom of Thailand and the Kingdom of Cambodia, held at the Dusit Thani Hotel in Bangkok on 25-26 December 2012. The meeting was co-chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Mr. Surapong Tovichakchaikul, and the Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Hor Namhong.
With the implementation of the single visa agreement, tourists from 35 countries will be allowed to obtain one visa to visit both Thailand and Cambodia and stay in Thailand up to 60 days and in Cambodia up to 30 days.
The meeting was told that the State Railway of Thailand is ready to support the construction of a railway linking Khlong Luek in Aranyaprathet, Sa Kaeo province, with Poi Pet in Cambodia. The railway will facilitate the increasing goods transportation and cross-border trade and travel in the area. The Neighboring Countries Economic Development Cooperation Agency will also support a feasibility study of developing Route 48, which connects with the Southern Coastal Corridor in Cambodia.
The meeting approved the opening of a border trade checkpoint at Ban Non Makmun in Sa Kaeo province, opposite Banteay Meanchey province in Cambodia. This border checkpoint will serve as a channel to promote cross-border trade and people-to-people contact.
Both Thailand and Cambodia agreed on the management plan for the opening of a new permanent border checkpoint at Ban Nong Ian in Sa Kaeo province, opposite Stung Bot in Cambodia. The plan includes the construction of a checkpoint office to facilitate goods transportation to cope with growing border trade and investment.
The meeting also discussed ways to ease the rosewood smuggling problem along the border. It agreed to create a communication channel between the relevant agencies of both countries to tackle and prevent the problem.
Thailand and Cambodia agreed to increase bilateral trade target of 30 percent between 2012 and 2017. On this occasion, Mr. Hor Namhong paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, as well. They also discussed the Thai-Cambodian Joint Cabinet Retreat, to be held in the first half of 2013.
PICTURED ABOVE: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina shakes hand with her Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra at the Prime Minister’s Office in Dhaka on Saturday.
Bangladesh, Thailand wants to double bilateral trade by 2016
According to The Financial Express, Bangladesh’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her Thai counterpart Yingluck Shinawatra acknowledged the importance of enhancing connectivity between the two nations through increased regional cooperation and developing roads and shipping infrastructures linking Bangladesh and Thailand.
The two premiers entrusted the Bangladesh-Thailand Joint Commission to discuss and make recommendations on specific areas of cooperation with a major focus on connectivity, according to a joint statement signed on the day on the occasion of the Thai premier’s visit to Bangladesh.
The two sides recognised that the region is being increasingly used by criminals for arms, drugs and human trafficking. The two leaders expressed concern about the serious challenge posed by the threats of terrorism and condemned it in all its forms and manifestations.
The two noted with satisfaction that bilateral trade has increased by over 65 per cent in the last year (FY 2009-10 to FY 2010-11) and crossed the US$ one billion mark in 2011.
Hasina invited the Thai private sector to invest in infrastructure development, food processing and power generation sectors.
Besides, the two sides agreed to explore the possibilities of cooperation between their respective oil and gas companies in Exploration and Production (E&P) opportunities in Bangladesh.
The Thai PM welcomed Bangladesh’s plan to hold a Single Country Fair in Thailand in 2013.