On Monday, French President Emmanuel Macron held a meeting with Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in Dhaka, aiming to enhance dialogue with what Paris views as “an increasingly strategic partner.”
Macron landed in the capital in the first such visit by a French president in 33 years to further intensify trade and strategic relations.
Former French President Francois Mitterrand visited Bangladesh in 1990.
Several bilateral agreements were expected to be signed by Macron and Hasina during their meeting.
Before the meeting, Macron paid tribute to Bangladesh’s founding leader Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in Dhaka.
Apart from discussing bilateral issues, the meeting will also see the signing of two memorandums of understanding (MoUs), one with European multinational aerospace corporation Airbus for financing a satellite and aircraft and one regarding funding for a local government project.
The two leaders will hold a joint press briefing after the meeting to share the details.
Bangladesh and France signed a defense MoU during Sheikh Hasina’s visit to France in 2021.
“Historical, this trip to Bangladesh will be a way to strengthen our dialogue with an increasingly strategic partner,” the French embassy in Dhaka said Monday on its official Facebook page.
The country, thanks to its strong economic growth, has made tremendous progress in pursuing its Smart Bangladesh vision.
“Ambitious, our cooperation aims also at the achievement of sustainable development goals (SDGs),” it added.
France is eager to stand by Bangladesh in its development to support it to overcome its major challenges, the embassy said.
Oher issues including Rohingya, trade, investment, support to deal with climate change and technology transfer were discussed between the two leaders.
The total trade between Bangladesh and France soared from €210 million ($225 million) in the early 1990s to €4.9 billion currently with France being Bangladesh’s fifth largest export destination.
Macron arrived in Dhaka on Sunday night for a two-day official visit.
After attending the G-20 Summit in New Delhi, India, he landed at Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, where Sheikh Hasina, members of her Cabinet and other high-ranking officials received him.
Macron was presented with a guard of honor and 21-gun salute by the Armed Forces at the airport. He was accompanied by French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna.
He is scheduled to leave Dhaka at noon on Monday, less than 24 hours after completing all formalities.