President of the Maldives Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has commended Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for the "outstanding" socio-economic progress achieved in Bangladesh under her leadership.
He also congratulated her as Bangladesh qualified for graduating from Least Developed Country (LDC) category to a developing country status.
President Solih attributed this "milestone achievement" to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's "foresight and exemplary" leadership, coupled with the hard work of Bangladeshi people, according to a joint communiqué issued on Thursday night.
Both leaders noted the untapped scope for economic cooperation between the Maldives and Bangladesh.
They agreed to expedite the work in translating this potential into tangible outcomes through trade and investment initiatives.
In the context of graduation from LDC status, and the need to maintain benefits enjoyed under the South Asian Free Trade Area, Hasina reiterated Bangladesh's offer to conclude a Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with the Maldives.
Solih welcomed Hasina's initiative for PTA and to hold Commerce Secretary-level meetings to discuss trade related issues in detail at the earliest.
Both leaders reviewed the progress made on the commitments announced during the state visit of President Solih and the official visits of Vice President Faisal Naseem and Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid to Dhaka earlier this year.
They expressed satisfaction on timely holding of the first bilateral consultations at Foreign Secretary level, between the two countries in November 2021 in Malé.
The two leaders noted the need to expedite the implementation of the other instruments concluded during the visit of President Solih in March 2021.
Solih and Hasina held official talks on Thursday and reviewed the entire range of bilateral engagements including exploring new avenues for further strengthening cooperation on trade, investment, connectivity, health, culture, agriculture, Information and Communication Technology, human resources development, consular and community welfare.
They also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.
During the visit, Vice President Faisal Naseem, Speaker of People's Majlis, former President Mohamed Nasheed, Chief Justice Ahmed Muthasim Adnan and Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Ahmed Khaleel paid courtesy calls on Hasina.
Solih recalled his successful state visit to Dhaka in March 2021, to participate in the epochal celebrations commemorating the birth centenary of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the Golden Jubilee of the Independence of Bangladesh and congratulated Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on these festive occasions.
Solih and Hasina discussed the global Covid-19 pandemic and noted the devastating impacts it has had on the economies, livelihoods and wellbeing of the people in both the countries, as well as across the globe.
Both leaders agreed on the importance of equitable access to vaccines to combat the pandemic.