The Maldives may soon be invited to use Bangladeshi diplomatic missions abroad to negotiate with the international community, it emerged this week.
Bangladeshi Foreign Secretary, Mijarul Quayes, is drafting a conceptual plan that will allow the Maldives to open ‘outlets’ within Bangladeshi diplomatic through which to conduct its international relations, according to a report by the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP).
The Maldives has only 13 missions abroad and opening ‘Maldivian outlets’ within Bangladeshi missions would help the island nation, the APP report said.
Bangladesh has 60 diplomatic missions worldwide. Offering the Maldives office space within their missions is part of Quayes’s plan envisaging a “new role for Bangladesh regarding the Maldives”.
The offer of diplomatic office space, however, has not yet been made formally to the Maldivian Foreign Ministry.
“Bangladesh may be thinking of making such a proposal but we are not aware of it yet”, State Foreign Minister Ahmed Naseem told Minivan.
The Bangladeshi High Commission in the Maldives was unable to confirm or deny the report at time of press.
The government estimates there to be 35,000 Bangladeshi nationals working in the Maldives – over 11 percent of the total population – of which the authorities consider 17,000 to be employed legally.
Maldives-Bangladeshi relations have recently been in the news over allegations of Bangladeshi labourers being trafficked to the Maldives.
Exploitation of foreign workers rivals fishing as the second most profitable sector of the Maldivian economy after tourism, according to conservative estimates of the number of Bangladeshi workers showing up at their commission in Male’ after being abandoned at the airport by unscrupulous employment agents.