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Bangladesh rolls out red carpet to welcome President Macron

President Emmanuel Macron, the first French president to visit Bangladesh in 33 years, was on Sunday accorded a red carpet reception on his arrival here on a two-day trip.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina received Macron at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on his arrival from New Delhi around 8:30 pm.

The French president was greeted by gun salute.

In New Delhi the French leader attended the G20 summit, which was also attended by PM Hasina.

The Bangladesh premier flew back home early in the day so she can welcome Macron at the airport.

The airport and the roads through which the French president drove were decorated with portraits of Macron, President Mohammed Shahabuddin and PM Hasina. National flags of the two countries and colourful welcome festoons were installed across the capital city.

Francois Mitterrand was the last French president to visit Bangladesh on 22-24 February, 1990.

President Macron will attend a banquet hosted in his honour by PM Hasina on Sunday evening. The two leaders will hold a summit meeting at the Prime Minister’s Office on Monday morning.

Also on Monday they are expected to witness the signing of a couple of bilateral instruments and hold a joint press briefing.

Macron will pay homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman at the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 on Monday morning.

“We are thrilled to see a growing interest from both sides to enhance business, in particular to build on France technology and know-how in order to support the move from Digital Bangladesh to Smart Bangladesh,” said the Embassy of France in Dhaka.

The French president is accompanied by, among others, Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna.

The visit of President Macron at the invitation of PM Hasina will be the occasion to “concretize some projects and boost” further economic relations between the two countries, said the French side.

The bilateral trade relationship has gone a long way since early 1990.

Total trade between Bangladesh and France soared from 210M€ to 4.9 billion€ today with France being the 5th country for exports.

French companies are now involved in various sectors including engineering, energy, aerospace and water sectors.

The governments of Bangladesh and France sincerely hope that the visit of the French president to Bangladesh will further elevate the friendly relations between the two countries to a new height, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

PM Hasina visited France in November 2021 at the invitation of the French President Emmanuel Macron.

France is seeing the visit as an “opportunity to deepen” the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen earlier said Bangladesh and France would discuss ways to enhance trade and investment between the two countries apart from discussing issues like climate change and regulated migration during the talks.

“Women empowerment, enhancing trade and commerce and regulated migration – these are normal issues. Climate change is a big issue. The President of France has taken a leadership role,” Momen said, adding that Bangladesh will raise the loss and damage issue and its making functional of its relevant fund in a big way.

The French president is scheduled to leave Dhaka at 2pm on Monday. Foreign Minister Momen will see him off at the airport.