DHAKA, Feb 2, 2017 (BSS) - Bangladesh today reiterated its support to "two-state solution" involving Palestine and Israel and deplored the new Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.
"Bangladesh also reaffirmed its everlasting support to Palestinian state," Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque said while briefing reporters after the official talks between the two countries.
PM's Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim was present at the briefing.
The foreign secretary said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina led the Bangladesh side, while visiting Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas headed his delegation during the talks held at the Prime Minister's Office here this afternoon.
Noting that Palestine state now remains at a "critical moment", he said: "The two-state solution involving Palestine and Israel that we have been hearing for long time has become questionable due to Israeli aggression against Palestine."
Against this backdrop, Haque said, Bangladesh renewed its support to an international decision that adopted "two-state solution" meaning that Palestine and Israel would be separate states.
Simultaneously, Bangladesh reiterated its everlasting support to Palestinian people at different forums including the United Nations, the foreign secretary said.
The foreign secretary said during the talks Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina condemned fresh Israeli settlements in Palestinian territory.
He said the official talks were held in a very cordial atmosphere and mentioned that the current visit of Mahmoud Abbas is the maiden official tour to Bangladesh by any Palestinian president after (Palestinian) Chairman Yasser Arafat in 1997.
The foreign secretary said Mahmoud Abbas, however, made stopovers in Dhaka twice. In this respect, he said, the visit of the Palestinian president to Bangladesh is "very important".
Through the visit, he said, a new horizon in terms of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and Palestine has been opened up.
Haque said the prime minister recalled with deep gratitude the unequivocal support of Palestine, especially Chairman Yasser Arafat, to Bangladesh's war of liberation in 1971.
"Palestinian movement had inspired Bangladesh in its independence war," Haque quoted the prime minister as saying.
In this connection, Sheikh Hasina mentioned the close friendship between Bangabandhu and Yasser Arafat.
The Palestinian president also paid his deep homage to Bangabandhu, describing him as a great leader of the world.
Mahmoud thanked and appreciated Bangladesh for its unequivocal support to independent Palestine state. "Like many countries, Bangladesh didn't give recognition to Israel and we want that Bangladesh would maintain the policy," the Palestinian president said.
"We have recognised Israel but Bangladesh did not do it and for this, we thank Bangladesh," Haque quoted the Palestinian leader as saying.
He said the Palestinians want to solve the problem with Israel through "peaceful negotiation". As a result, the present context has become different, Haque said.
The foreign secretary said Mahmoud Abbas mentioned that the Palestinian people are interested to set up two states through peaceful negotiations. "So we sought Bangladesh's continued support to it (two-state solution)," Abbas said.
After the talks, a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Intergovernmental Joint Committee was signed between Bangladesh and Palestine in the presence of Sheikh Hasina and Mahmoud Abbas.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister AH Mahmoud Ali and Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Al Maliki inked the MoU. Through the MoU, regular foreign office consultations between the two countries would be held, the foreign secretary said.
Replying to a question on boosting trade relations between Bangladesh and Palestine, Haque said the Palestinian side proposed to send a business delegation soon to explore potentials of trade and commerce between the two countries.
The delegation is expected to visit Bangladesh soon, he said.
Haque said the first foreign consultation meeting under the intergovernmental joint committee is expected by the end of this year.
There was no such platform in the past and all issues including trade and how Bangladesh could cooperate and the problem of the Palestinian students would be discussed, he said.
The foreign secretary mentioned that civil students like accountants and medical students as well as military students from Palestine now come to Bangladesh for study purpose.
Earlier, the Palestinian president and the Bangladesh premier held a tete-a-tete at the PMO.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas was given a heartiest welcome when he reached the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) here this afternoon to hold talks with Bangladesh Premier Sheikh Hasina.
Sheikh Hasina received the Palestinian leader at the PMO at 3.23 pm by presenting him with a bouquet.
Source: Bangladesh Sangbad Sangstha (BSS)