Qatar emir’s historic visit: A new chapter in Bangladesh-Qatar relations

Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Bangladesh

Dhaka is gearing up for an important and historic state visit by Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani on 22nd April, marking a significant milestone in bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Qatar. This visit, the first by a Qatar Emir in almost two decades, underscores the growing importance of trade, investment, and diplomatic ties between the two nations.

Trade and investment are set to dominate the agenda of this landmark visit. Bangladesh aims to bolster its economic relations with Qatar, a nation that has emerged as a key player in the Middle East, especially in arbitration and mediation roles.

A coordination meeting held at the Prime Minister’s Office on 15th April, chaired by Prime Minister’s principal secretary Tofazzal Hossain Mia, finalized ten agreements and Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) to be signed during the Emir’s visit. These agreements cover a wide range of areas including trade promotion, investment, elimination of double taxation, mutual cooperation on customs, and exchange of prisoners.

Furthermore, potential MoUs are expected to be signed on exporting manpower from Bangladesh to Qatar, cooperation in religious matters, and involvement of Qatari institution Mawani in port management in Bangladesh. Qatar’s interest in managing the port under construction at Matarbari in Maheshkhali is particularly noteworthy. Although Bangladesh has not made a final decision, an MoU with the Chittagong Port Authority is likely to be signed during the visit.

In a humanitarian gesture, Bangladesh is set to sign a prisoner exchange agreement with Qatar, following similar agreements with India and Thailand. Over 100 Bangladeshis are currently serving jail sentences in Qatar, and if the agreement is finalized, these individuals will serve the remainder of their sentences in Bangladesh after returning from Qatar.

Diplomatically, defense cooperation between Bangladesh and Qatar is also on the agenda. Last year, an MoU on defense cooperation was signed between the two countries, and discussions to implement this agreement are expected during the Emir’s visit. The MoU could pave the way for members of the Bangladesh defense forces to work in Qatar.

To commemorate the Emir’s visit and strengthen the longstanding friendly relations between Bangladesh and Qatar, a road and a park in Dhaka will be named after Sheikh Tamim Bin Hamad Al-Thani. The Emir will inaugurate the park in the Kalshi area of Mirpur under the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and a road running from Mirpur ECB Chattar to Kalshi Flyover on 23rd April.

DNCC Mayor Atiqul Islam highlighted the special bond between Bangladesh and Qatar, emphasizing the fantastic relations that have flourished since Bangladesh’s independence. He pointed out that naming public spaces after foreign leaders is a way to acknowledge and honor the close ties between nations. For instance, there are roads named after Kemal Ataturk in Banani and after Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman in Turkey.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s commitment to the development of public spaces was also mentioned. Last year, she declared the construction of a park and playground in Kalshi, allocating 16 bighas of land for this purpose. The new park will offer facilities for cricket and football, youth training programs, walking paths, and children’s play areas, enhancing the quality of life for local residents.

The upcoming state visit of Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani to Dhaka is laden with significance, promising to elevate the Bangladesh-Qatar relationship to new heights. With a focus on trade, investment, defense cooperation, and humanitarian ties, both countries are poised to strengthen their bonds and explore avenues for mutual growth and prosperity. Symbolic gestures like naming a road and park after the Emir underscore the warmth and camaraderie between the two nations, paving the way for a promising future built on trust, cooperation, and shared values.


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