Bangladesh, Germany to sign e-passport deal

Bangladesh and Germany are set to sign an agreement on e-passport at Bangabandhu International Conference Centre (BICC).

Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal and Niels Annen, the German state minister for foreign affairs, will attend the signing ceremony on Thursday, reports UNB.

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Germany said the agreement will be on the production and use of biometric e-passports in Bangladesh and termed it as the largest German-Bangladeshi business project ever.

Annen arrived in Dhaka on Wednesday on a three-day visit to discuss bilateral issues and sign the agreement.

On June 21, the Executive Committee of the National Economic Council (Ecnec) approved a project to issue e-passports alongside the existing MRPs to accommodate international demand as some countries, including Germany, do not accept MRPs.

The project titled “Introduction of e-Passport and Automated Border Control Management in Bangladesh” will be implemented between July 2018 and June 2028 with government funding, an official told UNB.

The German state minister will discuss trade, investment and international issues that are of great importance to both countries, including the Rohingya crisis.

Prior to the signing ceremony, Annen will hold formal talks with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, and meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Before his departure from New Delhi to Dhaka, he had said: “On my first official trip to Dhaka, we will be talking about the response to the Rohingya crisis, for which Bangladesh deserves our respect and to which Germany is also providing important assistance.”

Germany is providing humanitarian assistance and stabilisation projects to support Bangladesh, which currently shelters more than one million Rohingya refugees who fled brutal persecution in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Niels Annen will also meet members of the political opposition and hold talks with representatives of civil society.

The German Foreign Ministry also said that the 11th national elections in Bangladesh to be held at the end of 2018 need to meet minimum democratic standards.

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