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Fifth UK-Bangladesh Strategic Dialogue: Press Statement

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) of the United Kingdom and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) of Bangladesh held the fifth UK-Bangladesh Strategic Dialogue on Tuesday 12 September 2023 at the Foreign Service Academy in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Dialogue covered the full breadth of the Bangladesh-UK relationship, including political and diplomatic relations, economic, trade and development partnerships, and global, regional and security issues.

The UK and Bangladesh welcomed the evolution of the bilateral relationship into a modern economic, trade and security partnership, which advances shared global and regional priorities such as tackling climate change and the Rohingya refugee crisis.

The UK, as the second-largest cumulative investor in Bangladesh, welcomed the second Bangladesh-UK Trade and Investment Dialogue earlier this year, and the Aviation Trade and Investment Partnership signed in May. The two sides agreed to work together to increase mutual prosperity ahead of Bangladesh’s graduation from Least Developed Country status. Bangladesh welcomed the UK’s generous Developing Countries Trading Scheme and acknowledged its role in integrating Bangladesh into the global economy, creating stronger trade and investment opportunities.

The UK and Bangladesh agreed to establish a Joint Working Group on migration and returns, and other equities in the justice and home affairs space. Both countries also agreed to conclude the Standard Operating Procedures governing the returns documentation processes and timescales prior to the first session of this Working Group by October.

In discussions on democracy and human rights, the UK encouraged free, fair, participatory and peaceful elections so the people of Bangladesh can exercise their democratic rights. The UK also underlined the need to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms.

The UK emphasised its commitment to the Indo-Pacific region, as evidenced by membership of the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and ASEAN Dialogue Partner status, while Bangladesh highlighted its recently published Indo-Pacific Outlook. The UK and Bangladesh agreed to continue cooperation on global and regional security.

The two sides reflected on their strong defence cooperation, and looked forward to the Defence Dialogue that will take place in London next year.

The UK and Bangladesh discussed the negative economic impact of Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine. The UK was clear that Russia should immediately cease attacks on Ukraine’s port and grain infrastructure, which are driving up the price of essential goods in Bangladesh and around the world. The UK stressed its unwavering support for the Ukrainian government and people in the face of this assault on their sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The UK commended Bangladesh for continuing to accommodate over one million Rohingya. The UK and Bangladesh noted that this population placed a significant burden on Bangladesh, particularly for communities living adjacent to camps. The UK noted the need for improved livelihood provisions for the Rohingya to ensure a more sustainable return to Rakhine State. The UK announced a further £3m contribution to the Rohingya response, taking its total contribution since 2017 to £368m. The UK and Bangladesh reiterated their commitment to the goal of safe, voluntary, and dignified returns to Myanmar as soon as the situation allows.

Both countries expressed appreciation for the UK-Bangladesh Climate Partnership, launched in January 2020, which facilitated the exchange of expertise and whole-of-society engagement and the UK-Bangladesh Climate Accord which was signed in March 2023. UK and Bangladesh will cooperate closely in the run-up to COP28. Both sides reiterated the urgent need for all countries to take ambitious action to combat climate change.

FCDO Permanent Under-Secretary, Sir Philip Barton, said

“I was delighted to attend the Fifth Bangladesh-UK Strategic Dialogue with Foreign Secretary Ambassador Momen in Dhaka. The Dialogue is a reflection of the growing relationship between our two countries, and our desire to work together more closely on our economic, trade and development partnerships and on regional and global security issues.”

British High Commissioner to Bangladesh, Sarah Cooke, said

“I was pleased to welcome Sir Philip Barton to Bangladesh. The UK’s partnership with Bangladesh represents a unique, historic relationship which contributes much to the prosperity and security of both our countries.”

Notes to Editors

This was the fifth Strategic Dialogue between the United Kingdom and Bangladesh. The first Strategic Dialogue was hosted by Bangladesh in March 2017. The second Strategic Dialogue was hosted by the UK in March 2018. The third Strategic Dialogue was hosted by Bangladesh in April 2019. The fourth Strategic Dialogue was hosted by the UK in September 2021.

Further information

British High Commission Dhaka

United Nations Road


Dhaka – 1212


Email: [email protected]

Follow the British High Commissioner to Bangladesh on Twitter: @HCSarahCooke

Follow the British High Commission Dhaka on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and Linkedin

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