Vol. 4 Num 148 Thu. October 23, 2003  
Front Page

Freetown seeks investment in garment, textile
President Kabbah leaves today, thanks Dhaka for peacekeeping in Sierra Leone

Dhaka and Freetown yesterday agreed to cooperate in various socio-economic fields, particularly in agriculture, trade and commerce.

A high-level delegation comprising representatives from public and private sectors of Bangladesh will visit Sierra Leone after Ramadan to work out the areas of co-operation between the two countries.

This was decided at an hour-long official discussion between Sierra Leone President Ahmed Tajen Kabbah and Prime Minister Khaleda Zia yesterday at the her office.

The visiting Sierra Leone delegation led by its president will meet members of the Federation of Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FBCCI) today to discuss the possibility of co-operation in trade and commerce between the two countries' private sectors.

Sierra Leone sought investment in garment and textile sectors, and technical support and expertise from Bangladesh to use its 5.2 million hectares of cultivable land lying idle, according to sources.

Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan, Commerce Minister Amir Khosru Mahmud Chwodhury, Agriculture Minister MK Anwar, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Reaz Rahman and Foreign Secretary Shamsher Mobin Chwdhury assisted Khaleda during the discussion.

Kabbah was aided by his Foreign and International Co-operation Minister Momodu Koroma and Agriculture and Food Security Minister SS Monde.

Briefing newspersons after the discussion, the foreign secretary said the Sierra Leone president has come to Dhaka to express his country's profound gratitude to Bangladesh for helping it restore peace by sending its troops to the UN peacekeeping mission.

"People of Sierra Leone not only welcome Bangladeshi troops, but they are reluctant to let them leave as well," the president was quoted as saying.

The Bangladeshi troops also extended cooperation in building schools, hospitals and mosques, he mentioned.

Sierra Leone also extended full support to Bangladesh's candidature for the post of secretary general of the Organisation of Islamic Conference.

The Sierra Leone president appreciated Bangladesh for achieving success in agriculture production, microcredit and poverty alleviation.

Freetown also sought co-operation in building its war-torn social and democratic institutes.

Bangladesh assured all sorts of assistance for building the war-ravaged country and offered training programmes for its defence forces and seats for its students at medical and engineering colleges and universities.

President Kabbah also extended an invitation to Prime Minister Khaleda Zia to visit his country at a convenient time, which she accepted.

The agriculture Sierra Leone minister would visit Bangladesh Agricultural Research Institute and Bangladesh Rice Research Institute at Gazipur today.

The Sierra Leone president placed wreath at the National Memorial at Savar and offered prayers at the Mazar of president Ziaur Rahman in the morning.

He also attended a banquet hosted by President Iajuddin Ahmed in his honour. Senior cabinet ministers including the foreign minister called on the visiting president at his Hotel Sheraton suit last night.

Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Speaker Jamiruddin Sircar, Chief Justice K M Hassan, ministers, MPs, leaders of the ruling four-party alliance and other political parties, former advisors to the caretaker governments, eminent personalities, diplomats and high civil and military officials attended the dinner.

Kabbah would visit Jamuna Multipurpose Bridge and Grameen Bank headquarters today before leaving for Freetown in the evening.

Sierra Leone President Ahmad Tejan Kabbah calls on Prime Minister Khaleda Zia at her office yesterday. PHOTO: PID