Foreign Minister of Australia is coming to Dhaka

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong

Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong

Dhaka, Bangladesh – Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong is scheduled to visit Dhaka on May 21 and 22, as announced by Bangladeshi officials. This visit aims to bolster bilateral relations and enhance cooperation for regional peace, prosperity, and security.

According to the Bangladesh Foreign Ministry, discussions during Wong's visit will encompass a broad range of topics including trade and investment, sustainable and renewable energy, the Rohingya crisis, maritime security, technology transfer, and the promotion of a free and open Indo-Pacific region.

A ministry official, requesting anonymity, highlighted the significance of Wong's visit to the Rohingya camps to witness the ongoing situation. Bangladesh is seeking Australia's assistance in addressing the Rohingya issue on a global platform, aiming for the repatriation of the displaced Myanmar citizens currently residing in Bangladesh. Australia has pledged continued humanitarian assistance and support for Bangladesh's repatriation efforts.

In addition to these discussions, Penny Wong will pay a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and hold bilateral meetings with Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud. Wong will be accompanied by a delegation including Michelle Chan, Deputy Secretary of the South and Southeast Asia Group, and Head of the Southeast Asia Office of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

Penny Wong, born in Sabah, Malaysia, and having moved to Adelaide, Australia, in 1976 at the age of eight, brings a unique perspective to her role, reflective of her diverse background.

Earlier this month, Australian Prime Minister Anthony Albanese expressed his commitment to working with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to strengthen bilateral relations and contribute to regional peace and security. In a letter congratulating Hasina on her re-election in January, Albanese emphasized the shared interests of both nations as Indian Ocean states, focusing on sovereignty, prosperity, security, and addressing climate change.

Bangladesh and Australia have recently signed a Trade and Investment Framework Arrangement (TIFA), opening new avenues for trade and investment. This agreement underscores the growing economic relationship, with bilateral trade currently standing at approximately 4 billion dollars.

Australia's Assistant Foreign Minister Tim Watts, during his visit to Bangladesh in May last year, welcomed Bangladesh's outlook on the Indo-Pacific region. He emphasized Australia's vision for a region free from domination by any single country.

Looking ahead, the fifth Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) between the two countries is scheduled to be held in Australia in June this year, following the fourth FOC held in Dhaka in March last year. This upcoming consultation is expected to further strengthen the diplomatic and economic ties between Bangladesh and Australia.

Penny Wong's visit marks a significant step in reinforcing the partnership between the two nations, with a strong focus on regional stability and mutual growth.


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