Dhaka, Colombo to sign six deals

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Dhaka, Colombo to sign six deals
Diplomatic Correspondent

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have decided to sign six agreements on investments, exports, exchange programmes, agriculture, fisheries and education to further intensify bilateral ties between the two countries.

The decision to sign the agreements was taken at the first-ever foreign secretary level consultation between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka held in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes led the Bangladesh delegation while his counterpart Chrysantha Romesh Jayasinghe led the Sri Lanka delegation.

In a joint statement issued yesterday, both sides agreed to sign and implement the following agreements as early as possible:

Promotion and reciprocal protection of investment, deal between the Export Development Board of Sri Lanka and Export Promotion Bureau of Bangladesh, deal on cultural, educational and scientific exchange programmes, deal between Ministry of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Fisheries and Livestock of Bangladesh, deal between Bangladesh Agricultural Research Council and Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy, and agreement between Tertiary and Vocational Education Commission of Sri Lanka and the Ministry of Education of Bangladesh.

The foreign secretaries agreed that early consultations would be held between the tax authorities in order to revise and attune the Agreement on the Avoidance of Double Taxation and Fiscal Evasion law 1988.

Diplomatic sources said the agreements are likely to be signed during the upcoming visit of Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse to Bangladesh, tentatively after March.

During the consultation, Mijarul Quayes sought support for Bangladesh’s candidature for the non-permanent membership of the UNSC for the period of 2016-17. The Sri Lankan side assured him of considering the request.

They also discussed cooperation in the various regional and multilateral forums including Saarc, Bimstec, IOR-ARC, UN, NAM and Commonwealth. Bangladesh appreciated Sri Lanka’s support to establish permanent secretariat of Bimstec in Dhaka.

The two sides agreed to establish a joint working group at director general level of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs to follow up on the decisions taken at various bilateral forums including the foreign secretary level consultations.

Both sides agreed to enhance bilateral trade and increase people to people contacts. They agreed to establish linkages between universities, educational institutions, museums and conduct youths and cultural delegations exchange.

Sri Lanka also agreed to explore Bangladesh’s proposal to train its nurses there. They also emphasised the need to share experiences in other identified areas of skills development.

The next round of foreign office consultations that is annual foreign secretary level consultations will be held in Colombo in 2012 at a mutually convenient time.

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