Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her way to Thailand
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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on her way to Thailand

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina left for Bangkok this morning on a six-day official visit to Thailand at the invitation of Thai Prime Minister Sretha Thavisin to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries. Prime Minister's speech writer Md. Nazrul Islam told BASS that a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight carrying the Prime Minister and his entourage left Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport today at 10:13 am. The flight is scheduled to land at Bangkok's Don Mueang International Airport at 1:30 pm local time. On the occasion of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's visit to Thailand on April 24 to 29, Foreign Minister Dr. Hasan Mahmood said in a press conference at the ministry on Monday, "This is a bilateral and multilateral visit." He said, this visit is significant for both sides. Because, it will open a new door of cooperation between friendly (two countries) Bangladesh and Thailand. This will be the Prime Minister's first bilateral visit after the formation of the current government in January. During the visit, Sheikh Hasina will hold bilateral meetings with Thai Prime Minister Thavisin and attend the 80th session of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNSCAP). The foreign minister said that Bangladesh and Thailand will sign several cooperation documents, including a letter of interest to negotiate a free trade agreement between the two countries. He said that visa exemption for Bangladesh and Thailand government passport holders, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on energy cooperation and two more MoUs on cooperation in the tourism sector and mutual cooperation on customs are likely to be signed to expand relations. The foreign minister said that the visit will create an opportunity to review a possible 'free trade agreement' between the two countries to expand trade and increase imports and exports. Dr. Hasan said that Dhaka will strongly raise the issue of Bangladesh's application to become ASEAN's 'Sectoral Dialogue Partner' during the visit. He said Bangladesh would reiterate its call to Thailand as a member of ASEAN to play a more active role in the Rohingya repatriation process amid the ongoing political conflict inside Myanmar. The foreign minister said, "Since both Thailand and Myanmar are member countries of ASEAN. Therefore, the Rohingya issue will be discussed with due importance. Hasan Mahmud said, the high-level visit will also discuss cooperation in the fields of investment, tourism, energy, land and sea communication. He said Bangladesh and Thailand can exploit the immense potential of the tourism sector through joint activities and exchange expertise in human resource development, promotion of Buddhist circuit programs as well as investment in the travel and leisure industry. The foreign minister said, "This cooperation in the tourism industry can create significant economic growth and employment opportunities in both countries." Sheikh Hasina will be formally welcomed by Thai Prime Minister Sretha Thavisin on April 26 and will be given a formal guard of honour. On the same day, Sheikh Hasina will hold a private and bilateral meeting with Thai Prime Minister Thavisin at Government House (Prime Minister's Office). At this time, the two leaders will be present at the document signing ceremony. Later, Sheikh Hasina will attend a joint press conference followed by a state lunch hosted by the Thai Prime Minister in honor of the Bangladeshi Prime Minister. During the visit, the Prime Minister will be accompanied by a royal audience of Thailand's King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajira-Klaucha-Uuya and Queen Suthida Vajrasudha-Bimala-Lakshana at the palace. In her multilateral engagement, the Prime Minister will attend and address the 80th session of UNCAP on April 25. On the same day, UN Under-Secretary-General and ESC Executive Secretary Armida Salsiah Alisjabana will meet with the Prime Minister. Under the theme 'Leveraging Digital Innovation for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific', the 80th session is a regional-wide collaborative effort to leverage digital innovation to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There will be opportunities. The session will bring together government leaders and ministers and other key stakeholders from Asia and the Pacific to discuss how digital innovation can contribute more inclusively to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.

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