His Excellency President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has met with the Prime Minister of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina, on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). The meeting was held at the United Nations Headquarters (UNHQ) in New York City. During the meeting, the two leaders reaffirmed their commitment to continue the close cooperation that has existed between the Maldives and Bangladesh in the health and education sectors.
President Solih and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina discussed the unprecedented challenges both Maldives and Bangladesh faced during the Covid-19 pandemic. The President further elaborated on the measures taken by the Government to tackle the pandemic, emphasising the importance given to ensuring proper medical care and vaccines for all, including the expatriate community in the Maldives. The President thanked the Bangladesh Government for the relief assistance in deploying the Bangladesh medical teams to assist Maldives’ efforts to combat Covid-19.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina noted that the Covid-19 situation in Bangladesh had improved and the number of deaths had significantly reduced. She also thanked the President for the Maldives’ efforts underway to regularise irregular migrant workers from Bangladesh, an initiative that was ramped up during the pandemic.
Addressing climate change, the President raised concern over the impacts of the climate emergency the two countries witness as two of the most vulnerable countries to climate change. The President commended the work carried out by Bangladesh as the current Chair of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF). Both the President and Prime Minister expressed their hope to work together for a fruitful outcome during the upcoming COP26, to be held in Glasgow in November. Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina noted the utmost urgency of sea level rising to Bangladesh and the Maldives, and that she is particular about raising the Maldives’ plight in her meetings with other leaders.
President Solih reiterated the Maldives’ support to Bangladesh regarding Rohingya Muslims and noted that the Maldives is committed to continuing working with the Government of Bangladesh and the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to seek accountability for the Rohingya people at the International Court of Justice. Both the President and the Prime Minister discussed exploring new avenues of connectivity as well as trade, commerce and economic diplomacy between the two countries, potentially through launching direct air cargo carriers between the two countries.
Ending the call, President Solih and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressed common interest to strengthen and promote international and regional cooperation.