Bangladesh PM Visits Kuwait for Talks on Manpower
Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed on Monday started a three-day visit to Kuwait during which she will discuss efforts to lift a ban on Bangladeshi manpower in the emirate, diplomats said.
Sheikh Hasina will meet the emir, Sheikh Jaber al-Ahmad al-Sabah, and senior officials in charge of economic and labour affairs. She was met at the airport by the acting prime minister, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah.
During her stay, Bangladesh and Kuwait are expected to sign a memorandum of understanding to protect the interests of thousands of Bangladeshi expatriates, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Abdus Samad Azad said earlier in Dhaka.
More than 200,000 Bangladeshis work in Kuwait and their future employment would be covered under the proposed pact which aims to ensure better working conditions, he said.
Kuwait slapped a total ban on the recruitment of any more Bangladeshi manpower in 1999, apparently after a Bangladeshi laborer strangled his 90-year-old Kuwaiti employer, stole his money and fled back home.
The two countries are also expected to sign an agreement for the extradition of criminals to allow Kuwait to extradite the laborer after his recent arrest in Bangladesh, diplomats in Kuwait told AFP.
Azad, who accompanied the premier, said around 5,000 Bangladeshi troops are also stationed in Kuwait.
They were deployed mainly for mine-clearing and other missions after the 1991 Gulf War when a US-led multinational force ended a seven-month Iraqi occupation of the tiny but oil-rich state.
Sheikh Hasina's program was to start with a meeting with Interior Minister Sheikh Mohammad Khaled al-Sabah.
Her talks are also expected to cover economic cooperation and Dhaka's interest in securing more soft loans from the Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED).
The Fund has granted Bangladesh tens of millions of dollars in loans, the last of which was an 18-million-dollar loan last October to finance expansion of transport and electricity networks in the city of Rajashahi – KUWAIT CITY (AFP)
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