Political consultation between Switzerland and Bangladesh held in Dhaka

Press release, 02.04.2019

The fourth round of bilateral political consultations between the foreign ministries of Switzerland and Bangladesh were held in Dhaka on 02 April 2019. Ambassador Raphael Nägeli, the Assistant State Secretary for Asia-Pacific of the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, and Ambassador Kamrul Ahsan, Secretary (Bilateral and Consular) to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh, led the respective delegations during the consultations.

Apart from taking stock of the current status of bilateral relations, the two countries discussed ways to further strengthen bilateral political, economic, development and cultural cooperation during the consultations. The two sides exchanged views on socio-economic developments and human rights. Both the countries also talked about a whole array of multilateral, regional and global topics of mutual interests, including Agenda 2030, Climate Change, Universal Periodic Review and recent developments in various regional fora.

On 02 April, the Swiss delegation held an exchange with the inter-agency committee of the Government of Bangladesh at the Ministry of Commerce. This committee was formed in September 2018 as a follow up to the Swiss presidential visit of February 2018 with the aim to promote bilateral trade and investment between Switzerland and Bangladesh. The economic relations between Switzerland and Bangladesh are growing rapidly. The trade volume has almost tripled since 2010.

Ambassador Nägeli and the Swiss delegation, which also includes Ambassador Thomas Gass, the Assistant Director General of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC, paid courtesy calls to the Honourable International Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H.E. Dr. Gowher Rizvi and the Principal Coordinator for SDG Affairs in the Prime Minister’s Office, Mr. Md. Abul Kalam Azad, on 02 April 2019. The delegation also met with the representatives of the civil society, business, diplomatic community, International Organizations and INGOs during their stay in Dhaka.

Earlier on 31 March 2019, a five member Swiss delegation arrived in Dhaka from Bern to participate in the consultations. During their stay in Bangladesh, the Swiss delegation travelled to the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar on 01 April 2019 to obtain a first-hand impression about the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Since 2017, Switzerland has committed more than US$30 million in humanitarian aid to alleviate the sufferings of the Rohingya refugees as well as the host communities.

Some members of the Swiss delegation will travel to Rajshahi and Chapai Nawabganj on 03-04 April 2019 to visit a number of development projects supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation SDC. Under its current cooperation strategy, Switzerland is providing development assistance to Bangladesh in key areas such as income and economic development, democratic governance and safer migration.