B'desh to procure 1 lakh tonnes of rice from Myanmar on reg basis

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Dhaka, Oct 7 (UNI) Bangladesh will procure 1,00,000 tonnes of rice from Myanmar on a regular basis as Dhaka made a host of proposals to expand bilateral trade and economic cooperation with Yangon.

The proposals, including a gas pipeline from Myanmar to produce fertiliser in Bangladesh to meet Yangoon's demand, were made during official talks between Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed and Vice-Chairman of the State Peace and Development Council of Myanmar Vice Senior General Maung Aye.

During 90-minute talks at the Chief Adviser's office, the two leaders discussed early construction of 23-km road linkage inside Myanmar at a cost of 20.3 million dollars.

The Bangladesh side proposed that the road linkage could be extended upto China to establish a direct road connecting China, Myanmar and Bangladesh. The Myanmar side said they would think about the proposal since it requires funding.

Briefing mediapersons, Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said the two leaders also discussed delimitation of martime boundary, contract farming by taking lease of cultivable lands in Myanmar and repatriation of 21,000 Rohingya refugees to Myanmar from Bangladesh.

The two sides also focused on how to increase bilateral trade from current 140 million dollars to 500 million dollars as Myanmar showed interest in importing more pharmaceutical products from Bangladesh.

Besides, the two sides discussed intensifying military to military cooperation through training programme and exchange of visits between the two countries.

An agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation was signed after the meeting.

''Talks were extremely fruitful,'' Dr Iftekhar told the mediapersons.

Asked about Myanmar's response to the Bangladesh proposal regarding supply of gas through pipeline for production of fertiliser in the latter, the Adviser said there was not instant response, but the energy ministries of the two countries would further discuss it.

On maritime boundary, the Chief Adviser requested the Myanmar General to use his political clout as well as a political direction from them to resolve the matter quickly.

About repatriation of 21,000 Rohingya refugees, Bangladesh proposed a tripartite mechanism between itself, Myanmar and the UNHCR for speedy repatriation of the refugees camped in Bangladesh southeastern city of Cox's Bazar since the early 90s.

UNI XC SKB VC1939

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