Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister. File photo

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Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister. File photo

Facing global isolation, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov may seek Bangladesh’s support during his visit here next week, while Dhaka focuses on the Rohingya crisis, food supply and energy cooperation.

Bangladesh may also want a quick implementation of the Rooppur nuclear power plant.

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Lavrov will travel to Bangladesh to attend the 22nd meeting of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) on November 23-24 to be held at the InterContinental Hotel at the invitation of Bangladesh, the current president of the IORA.

Ministers and senior officials from 23 member countries and 10 dialogue partners, including the United States, United Kingdom, Russia, China, Japan, Korea and Turkey, will attend the event, it said. officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Lavrov, who happily accepted the invitation, will also meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen, officials confirmed.

His visit to Dhaka is attracting attention as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and subsequent Western sanctions have disrupted energy, fertilizer and food supplies and caused inflation around the world.

International relations analysts said Russia faces global isolation. The UN General Assembly has passed several resolutions since March this year demanding an end to the war, Ukraine’s territorial integrity and Russia’s reparations for damage caused by attacks in Ukraine.

Bangladesh abstained from voting in two UNGA resolutions and voted for Ukraine in one.

“It is natural for the Russian foreign minister to seek Bangladesh’s support on the world stage,” said Professor Syeda Rozana Rashid of Dhaka University’s international relations department.

She said Russia was a trusted friend of Bangladesh and strongly supported Bangladesh during the liberation war when the United States sided with Pakistan. But global geopolitics has changed a lot.

The United States and the European Union are the main destinations for Bangladesh’s exports and they support Bangladesh in the Rohingya crisis, politically and financially.

However, they frequently talk about democracy, governance, press freedom and the human rights situation in the country.

In contrast, Bangladesh’s exports to Russia are relatively small. Bangladesh imports wheat from Russia and sets up the Rooppur nuclear power plant with Russian support.

Professor Rozana said that while Bangladesh was facing huge pressure over the Rohingya crisis, Russia was selling weapons to Myanmar and had played no role in resolving the crisis at the United Nations Security Council.

“The equation of diplomatic relations with different countries has therefore become difficult,” she said.

Still, she said, Bangladesh needs to balance its relationship with Russia and Western countries.

“Obviously we will seek Russian support to resolve the Rohingya crisis,” a foreign ministry official said.

Bangladesh recently signed an agreement to import 5 lakh tonnes of wheat from Russia, and its supply continues, he said.

“… We will see how we can get Russia’s energy support,” the official said.

Bangladesh is facing problems paying Russia for equipment for the Rooppur nuclear power plant, the implementation of which has become slow due to sanctions against Russia. Funds from Russia have also dwindled, the official added.

“We will discuss ways to solve the problem and speed up the implementation of the project.”