Bangladesh rolls out red carpet for Mahmoud Abbas

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DHAKA : Bangladesh today rolled out the red carpet as Palestine President Mahmoud Abbas arrived here on a three-day official visit.

President Abdul Hamid and senior ministers in the cabinet received the Palestinian leader as a 21 gun salute heralded his arrival, as part of state ceremony meant for VVIPs, after a special aircraft carrying him touched down Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

Two children – grandson and granddaughter of President Hamid — Jeem and Namira – presented bouquet to the Palestine President as he came down from the aircraft.

Finance minister AMA Muhith, Industries Minister Amir Hossain Amu, Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Minister for Local Government, Rural Development and Cooperatives Engineer Khandker Mosharraf Hossain, Liberation War Minister AKM Mozammel Haque, Planning Minister AHM Mustafa Kamal and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam were among others with President Hamid to receive the Palestinian leader.

The Bangladesh President escorted his counterpart to a makeshift dais as a joint contingent of army, navy and air force offered him an honour guard.

The entourage of President Abbas included Palestinian Foreign Minister Dr Riad N. A. Maliki, Chief Justice Mahmuod S.A. Alhabbash, Presidential Spokesman Nabil Aburudainah, Advisor for Diplomatic Affairs Dr. Majdi A.M. Khalidi, Chief Security Official Major General Shehada Ismal, Chief of Protocol Ambassador Hussein Hussein, President’s Physician Dr. Naim Sadqi Hussein.

This is the first official visit of the Palestine President to Bangladesh but earlier, he made a brief stopover in Dhaka in February last year on his way to Japan from Jordan.

Bangabhaban earlier in a statement said President Abbas flew to Bangladesh today on an invitation by his counterpart and expected the tour to strengthen bilateral ties through “more diverse and meaningful engagements, particularly in the field of trade and commerce”.

A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on formation of a Joint Commission at the foreign ministry level between Bangladesh and Palestine are also expected to be signed during the visit.

After the reception ceremony, the Palestine President left the airport for the Hotel Le Meridien, where he will stay during his three-day visit to Dhaka, said a foreign ministry source.

The Palestine President is scheduled to visit the National Mausoleum at Savar tomorrow afternoon and place wreath in memory of the freedom fighters, who sacrificed their lives for independence of Bangladesh in 1971, according to programme schedule.

He would also visit the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum and pay respect to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s memory.

President Abbas will make a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at her office in the afternoon tomorrow.

Leader of the Opposition in the Parliament Begum Raushan Ershad would call on the Palestine President while he will hold a meeting with Bangladesh President Abdul Hamid at Credential Hall of Bangabhaban on Thursday evening.

Later he would also attend a cultural programme followed by a dinner hosted by President Hamid at Darbar Hall on the day.

Wrapping up his three-day visit here, the Palestine President will leave Dhaka on Friday.

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