New Bangladesh ambassador vows to ‘elevate’ relations with Saudi Arabia

New Bangladesh ambassador vows to ‘elevate’ relations with Saudi Arabia
New Bangladesh ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dr. Mohammed Javed Patwary
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Updated 24 October 2020

New Bangladesh ambassador vows to ‘elevate’ relations with Saudi Arabia

New Bangladesh ambassador vows to ‘elevate’ relations with Saudi Arabia
  • Country could become important political and development partner, says envoy

DHAKA: The newly appointed Bangladesh ambassador to Saudi Arabia has vowed to “elevate” his country's relationship with the Kingdom, as well as sending better-trained workers to tap into its post-coronavirus labor market.

Dr. Mohammed Javed Patwary, who is a former police chief, became ambassador to Saudi Arabia in late August.

“Bangladesh, rather than becoming only a labor-sending country, could be an important development and political partner of Saudi Arabia, that is a plan I envisage to implement,” Patwary told Arab News earlier this week.

He said he was planning to advise Dhaka on sending skilled or semi-skilled workers to Saudi Arabia in the future, and that a discussion was underway with Saudi Takamol for the certification of Bangladeshi workers prior to their arrival in the Kingdom.

Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia had the same stance on most international issues, particularly those in the Muslim world, he added.

“To elevate our political relations with the Kingdom to a strategic level and address regional and global security issues together, we have joined the Islamic Military Counter Terrorism Coalition,” he said, referring to the intergovernmental counterterrorism alliance of Muslim countries founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

Enhanced political and security relations would be built “within an ecosystem of cooperation in other sectors, including economic and commerce,” he said.

Saudi Arabia is the main destination for Bangladeshi migrant workers and currently hosts more than 2.2 million of them. 

Patwary said since many of them had lost their jobs due to the coronavirus outbreak and business shutdowns, he was planning on providing them with training to reintegrate them into the Kingdom's job market with the help of Saudi agencies so that they could become more competitive.

“I also plan to explore the possibility of engaging and employing our workers in the sector of agriculture, fisheries and livestock in Saudi Arabia especially under the prospective Red Sea coastal farming and aquaculture development projects in the near future.”

Patwary said that as Bangladesh had achieved self-sufficiency in food production for its own population, the country's expertise in agriculture, livestock and fisheries could be used in the Saudi context for increasing the volume of agricultural products, especially in the ongoing NEOM and Red Sea coastal area development projects.

The new ambassador wanted to expedite investment projects, following the visit of a high-profile Saudi delegation to Bangladesh in March 2019.

“It is undeniable that the COVID-19 pandemic has slowed down the pace of investment negotiation to some extent. But we have been organizing many virtual meetings between the prospective Saudi investors and concerned authorities in Bangladesh over the last few months. We are hopeful of resuming our discussion in full swing as soon as normalcy returns, and (are) also expecting Saudi delegations and experts to visit the sites in Bangladesh when commercial flight operations resume.”

He also expressed his gratitude for Saudi Arabia's support in addressing the Rohingya crisis. Bangladesh is hosting more than a million Rohingya refugees who fled Myanmar in 2017 to escape a military-led crackdown.

“We thank Saudi Arabia for its leadership role within the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in standing up against such state-sponsored crimes against humanity,” Patwary said. “Saudi Arabia is also a major proponent of the UN resolution against Myanmar. Besides, as the OIC summit chair, the Kingdom is providing valuable guidelines and financial support for the case against Myanmar at the International Court of Justice. We are also grateful to King Salman for the humanitarian support to the refugees.”

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department
Updated 16 January 2021

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

Iran deal architect among veterans named for Biden State Department

WASHINGTON: The lead US negotiator of the Iran nuclear accord and a battle-tested hawk on Russia were named Saturday to top posts at President-elect Joe Biden’s State Department, signaling a return to normal after Donald Trump’s chaotic presidency.
Wendy Sherman, who brokered the Iran accord under Barack Obama and negotiated a nuclear deal with North Korea under Bill Clinton, was named as deputy secretary of state.
Victoria Nuland, a former career diplomat best known for her robust support for Ukrainian protesters in the ouster of a Russian-aligned president, was nominated under secretary for political affairs — the State Department’s third-ranking post in charge of day-to-day US diplomacy.
Biden said that the State Department nominees “have secured some of the most defining national security and diplomatic achievements in recent memory.”
“I am confident that they will use their diplomatic experience and skill to restore America’s global and moral leadership. America is back,” Biden said in a statement.
The State Department team will work under secretary of state-designate Antony Blinken, whose confirmation hearing will take place on Tuesday on the eve of Biden’s inauguration.
Blinken said that the State Department team, with women and ethnic minorities in prominent positions, “looks like America.”
“America at its best still has a greater capacity than any other country on earth to mobilize others to meet the challenges of our time,” Blinken said.
The optimism comes amid rising doubts about US leadership in Trump’s waning days after his supporters ransacked the Capitol on January 6 to try to stop the ceremonial certification of Biden’s victory.
Under outgoing Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch defender of Trump, the United States has aggressively challenged Iran and China, robustly backed Israel and toyed with improving ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, while also imposing sanctions on Moscow.
Sherman’s nomination marks another clear sign that Biden wants to return to the accord under which Iran drastically slashed its nuclear program in exchange for promises of sanctions relief.
Trump exited the deal in 2018 and imposed sweeping sanctions in what many observers saw as an unsuccessful attempt to topple the Shiite clerical regime.