French envoy: PM Hasina likely to visit Paris as progress made on Airbus deal


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Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is likely to visit Paris as significant progress has been made in Airbus deals to sell aircraft to Biman and provide Bangladesh's own sovereign earth-observation satellite, French ambassador in Dhaka Marie Masdupuy has said.

"There will be an upcoming visit to your Prime Minister (Sheikh Hasina) in Paris. The date is yet to be confirmed," she told a small group of journalists at her residence on Wednesday.

The French Ambassador said currently Airbus is in discussion in two different areas, one with Biman Bangladesh Airlines to sell aircraft, and the other is to provide satellite systems that Bangladesh would like to acquire.

"Both discussions are going well, and we hope that there will be soon finalization and signing (of the deals of purchase)," she said.

Replying to a query, the envoy said the deals could be signed during the upcoming visit of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

On strategic cooperation between France and Bangladesh, the ambassador said Paris emphasized issues related to aerospace connectivity, defence, digital and cyber and climate change.

Regarding the French Indo-Pacific vision, Masdupuy said Dhaka and Paris shared the same stance on a "free, open, peaceful, secure, and inclusive" Indo-Pacific region, based on international law and with shared prosperity for all.

"Bangladesh is definitely a very important partner of France in this implementation of our Indo-Pacific vision. Because of the position of your country, because of your weight, in terms of population, economic growth and the perspective which is being outlined," she said.

She said Dhaka and Paris have been trying to support each other as they understand each other's issues well.

"Our view is a very cooperative approach when it comes to the Indo Pacific, recognizing the mounting importance of this region, in the economy of the world, in the human dynamics of the world, and also in culture and other areas," said the envoy.

She said Paris believes maintaining dialogue and cooperation with everybody in the region is important.

On the Bangladesh transition to a middle-income country from an LDC, the envoy said diversifying the export basket and improvement of the labour situation are important for Dhaka in its transition.

She said Paris and Dhaka have been witnessing an upward interest from Bangladeshi and French companies in various areas like energy, food, shipbuilding, and engineering.

"And we also started looking into possible investments by Bangladeshi companies in France, for example, in Pharma or RMG, retail, and other areas," she said.

Regarding the Rohingya crisis, the ambassador said her country is confident that Bangladesh will take all steps to maintain the security situation inside and outside the Rohingya camps.

On international issue, the Ambassador said there is a huge information manipulation on France's role in Russia Ukraine war.

Masdupuy said she noticed some Bangladeshi YouTube channels and online media uploaded some videos explaining to the Bangladeshi people that France has troops in Ukraine, mentioning the particular names of some regiments, units, or battalions.

It is not the only country where it is taking place, but it just shows that in the eyes of the current Russian regime, Bangladesh is one of their target countries," she said.

She claimed that France has been facing information manipulation campaigns originating from Russia aimed at harming France.

On the Gaza issue, the French ambassador said Paris is in favor of the ceasefire and wants to observe that Israel is respecting humanitarian international law.

She said they want to see the peaceful coexistence of Israel and Palestine.

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