Energy-Rich Brunei’s Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah Arrives in Dhaka

Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah || Photo: Collected

Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah || Photo: Collected

Bangladesh rolled out the red carpet as Brunei Sultan Haji Hassanal Bolkiah arrived in Dhaka on his first state visit to Bangladesh on Saturday afternoon, reports UNB.

President Abdul Hamid warmly received the Sultan at the VVIP terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport amid 21-gun salute and guard of honour upon his arrival by a special flight around 2:30pm.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has expressed optimism that the state visit by the Sultan would “usher in a new chapter” in the excellent bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Brunei.

The visit was originally scheduled for October 14-16, but later it was rescheduled for October 15-16.

Brunei has one of the world's highest standards of living due to its abundant oil and gas reserves.

The Sultan of Brunei, Hassanal Bolkiah, is one of the world's longest-reigning and few remaining absolute monarchs.

He was crowned in August 1968 following the abdication of his father, Sir Haji Omar Ali Saifuddin.

From the airport, Brunei Sultan is scheduled to go straight to the National Martyrs' Memorial, Savar.

There, he will be received by Liberation War Affairs, Housing and Public Works Ministers and State Minister for Disaster Management and Relief.

The Sultan will place a wreath paying homage to Liberation War martyrs, sign visitors’ book; and plant a sapling there at 3:40pm.

Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah will also visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhaka’s Dhanmondi 32 to pay homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman on Sunday.

Family members of Bangabandhu will receive him there, according to a draft programme schedule.

Brunei Sultan will hold meetings with President Abdul Hamid and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina apart from other engagements during the visit.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen will also meet him during his visit.

Bangladesh and Brunei are likely to sign three bilateral cooperation documents, including an agreement for introducing direct flights between the two countries, Momen told reporters.

Two other cooperation documents will be signed on recruitment of Bangladeshi workers and recognition of certificates for two countries’ seafarers.

“We believe that the visit will be a successful and productive one,” Momen said.

On energy cooperation with Brunei, Momen said Bangladesh is having discussion in this area and exploring all available options.

In April 2019, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made a historic visit to Brunei Darussalam, which marked a new milestone as the countries signed several MoUs for various types of cooperation, including in sectors like gas supply, fisheries, agriculture, livestock, youth and sports, and art and culture.

Currently there may be around 15,000 Bangladeshi workers in Brunei.

The country welcomes foreign workers to work in Brunei, including Bangladeshis, as long as the recruitment process is clean and all documents are in place.

Foreign Minister Momen is scheduled to see off Brunei Sultan at the airport after completion of the visit, likely on Sunday evening.

Foreign Minister of Brunei Darussalam Erywan Yusof met his Bangladesh counterpart Momen at state guesthouse Padma on Friday night.

During their talks, the two Foreign Ministers exchanged views on important aspects of bilateral relations and stressed the importance of further strengthening the level of trade and investment for the mutual benefit of the two countries.

They agreed to explore new areas of cooperation as well as to enhance connectivity for giving trade, investment, tourism, people-to-people contacts, etc. further boost in the days ahead.

They also exchanged views on the challenges brought about by the pandemic and the conflicts in Europe, particularly in the form of food and energy insecurity and supply chain disruptions.

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