Bangladesh Prime Minister Visits Moscow, Russia

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Bangladesh Prime Minister Visits Moscow, Russia

Red carpet rolled out for Hasina

PM reaches Moscow

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inspects a guard of honour at Sheremetyevo International Airport on her arrival in Moscow yesterday. Photo: PID

A red carpet reception was accorded to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina after she arrived in Moscow yesterday afternoon at the invitation of the Russian government.

During her three-day official visit, the premier will sign a number of deals, including two crucial agreements on $1 billion defence purchase and financing for a nuclear power plant in Bangladesh.

On her arrival at Sheremetyevo International Airport, Hasina was received by Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Vladimirovich Margulov and Bangladesh Ambassador to Russia SM Saiful Hoque.

A smartly turned out contingent of the Russian force gave a static guard of honour to Hasina. A tiny tot presented a bouquet to her.

Later, the premier and her entourage drove to President Hotel in a ceremonial motorcade where she will be staying during the tour.

Ahead of her visit to Moscow, the premier in an exclusive interview with Itar-Tass on Sunday said Russia has always been a true friend of Bangladesh.

"This manifested itself in a particularly significant way during the Liberation War in 1971 when the then Soviet Union came to our people's aid,” she told the official news agency of Russia.

Taking a very positive view towards the visit, Hasina expressed her hope for wider mutual cooperation between the two countries in various fields, which, she said, “will undoubtedly strengthen our friendship in future.”

“We must not forget that we have big friends abroad. When we speak of Russia, we must also bear in mind that the Soviet Union helped us greatly in the Liberation War.

"And continued to give us assistance even after the war when the need arose to clear mines at the Chittagong port,” she said.

The premier also recalled that three Soviet seamen had died during the accomplishment of that mission.

“We remember that up to now, and we consider it our duty to keep all those events in our memory,” she added.

Hasina lamented that human memory is very short and people quite often forget what role the powers friendly to us played both in the war and in peacetime, and that the Soviet Union defended Bangladesh at the United Nations Organisation.

“We consider it our duty to maintain friendly relations with those who did not forget about us in time of need,” the premier told Itar-Tass.

Hasina is leading a 54-member delegation during the visit. She will hold official talks with Russian President Vladimir V Putin at his Kremlin office today.

The talks will be followed by a bilateral meeting, a deal-signing ceremony and a joint press conference.

Later, Hasina will join the official lunch to be hosted by Putin. She will also pay a visit to Bolshoi Theatre and witness a cultural function there.

Earlier in the morning, the premier will visit the Tomb of Unknown Soldiers and place wreaths there. Minister for Communication and Mass Media of the Russian Federation Nikolay Nikiforov will meet her at President Hotel.

Hasina will address the faculty members and students of Moscow State University tomorrow.

Later, she will have meetings with Chairperson of the Council of the Federation of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation Valentina I Matvienko and Director General of Rosatom Sergey Kirienko.

The premier will then visit Kremlin Museum and Russian Gas exploration company Gazprom.

Hasina is scheduled to leave Moscow tomorrow and expected to arrive in Dhaka Thursday morning.