FM Hasan Mahmud’s Riyadh visit : An impetus in KSA-Bangladesh diplomacy

Ozair Islam
From July 1–3, Bangladeshi FM Hasan Mahmud’s Hasan is in Riyadh on an official visit to cement the official diplomacy between Bangladesh and the KSA. There are two main reasons why this visit is really important. First, following the first-ever political consultations between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, which took place in Dhaka on March 16, 2022, the two countries recently held their second political consultations in Riyadh on July 1. During this meeting, topics including trade, investment, the Rohingya crisis, Bangladeshi migrants, and other matters pertaining to mutual interests such as bilateral, economic, manpower, and energy partnerships, as well as regional and global development, education, health, investment issues, environment and climate change, ICT, and tourism were discussed. The delegations from Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh were led by Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan Al Saud and Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud, respectively, during the high-level meeting held at the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the meeting, the leaders of the two friendly nations reaffirmed their friendship and long-standing relationship, and they expressed pleasure with the current level of bilateral cooperation.
Second, the visit offers a rare chance to assess the whole range of collaborations between the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh, map out the direction of future bilateral relations, and open the door for high-level meetings. It is noteworthy that later this year, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al-Saud, who also serves as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s prime minister, is probably going to make an official visit to Bangladesh. In the history of Bangladesh-Saudi Arabia bilateral relations, this would be a significant development that would strengthen ties, particularly in the areas of investment, trade and commerce, and economic cooperation. After Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah bin Abdulaziz’s 1985 visit to Dhaka, this would be the first crown prince visit to Bangladesh. During the Saudi leader’s visit, a number of bilateral documents, including agreements and memoranda of understanding, may be signed. Both parties anticipate that this will further boost the bilateral connections between their nations.
The FM of Bangladesh and his delegation paid a visit to Riyadh, which bolstered the already strong brotherly ties between Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. For political, religious, and economic reasons, Bangla- desh’s foreign policy heavily relies on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). KSA has been essential for much-needed economic help, mainly as grants, commerce and investment, energy supply, jobs, and remittances, since the beginning of diplomatic ties in 1975.
The second-ever high-level political dialogue between Dhaka and Riyadh after two years shows the revitalization of the existing political coalition and demonstrates a symbolic gesture to Saudi Arabia’s repriori-tization of Asia in its foreign policy. This comes amid the growing geopolitical irritants in the Middle East, particularly the Gaza-Israel war in Middle East and the Russia-Ukraine crisis in Eurasia. The possibility of developing a connection towards a comprehensive partnership with a targeted roadmap” is diminished in such a political environment. During the discussion, the foreign minister of Bangladesh suggested using the unrealized potential and establishing a win-win scenario. It’s also important to note that Bangladesh and KSA have similar opinions about the Gaza-Israel conflict. Both want a two-state solution and an immediate cessation of hostilities. However, Bangladesh has always valued the KSA’s continued assistance for the Rohingya community.
Both Bangladesh and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia might align with each other’s ambitious goals of “Vision 2041” and “Vision 2023,” as both can steer both nations towards mutually beneficial growth. Prince Faisal praised Bangladesh’s remarkable econo- mic growth. He conveyed Riyadh’s openness to explore new forms of economic collaboration. In the meanwhile, the prime minister of Bangladesh has alredy asked Saudi Arabia to increase its investment, especially in the country’s special economic zones. “Bangladesh is prepared to offer assistance to investors from Saudi Arabia, including providing them with exclusive land in the special economic zones,” the spokesperson said.
Five decades have passed since Saudi Arabia (KSA) and Bangladesh established diplomatic relations, which are marked by close development and commercial connections.
(To be contd)