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Teesta agreement will materialise: Bangladesh FM

Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni said her country "is sure" that the Teesta water-sharing agreement with India will materialise.

Kolkata: Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Sunday night said her country "is sure" that the Teesta water-sharing agreement with India will materialise.

"We are sure the agreement will materialise. The people of Bangladesh are also optimistic about it," Moni told reporters on the sidelines of a function, where she was conferred with the Mother Teresa International Award for excellence in social work.

"Water is a very important issue. People of Bangladesh also want this agreement to be signed. Bilateral relation between India and Bangladesh is a deep-rooted one. Teesta agreement will be signed soon," she said on arriving here on a two-day private visit.

The agreement had to be scrapped during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to Dhaka last September following last minute objection by West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to the quantum of water to be given to Bangladesh.

Moni said both the countries were forging ahead to strengthen the bilateral relation and fulfilling the agreements signed between the two countries during Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s visit to Dhaka last year and Sheikh Hasina`s trip to Delhi in January 2010.
She said a joint commission headed by Foreign Ministers of the two countries was also formed as part of the institutional mechanism to pursue and monitor the agreements signed during the visits of the two Prime Ministers, and the first meeting of the commission would be held in New Delhi on May 7.

"India`s Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee is slated to
visit Dhaka on May 6, when he would attend the concluding function of the year-long celebrations of Rabindranath Tagore`s 150th birth anniversary and meet Hasina," Moni said.

She said she herself would go to New Delhi the next day to meet her Indian counterpart S M Krishna and hold talks on the entire gamut of bilateral ties.

"The Indo-Bangladesh relation at this moment is at its best, like that in 1971," Moni said comparing the period of upswing witnessed after the liberation of Bangladesh.
She said the momentum set in bilateral ties by Indira Gandhi and Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, founder of Bangladesh, is being taken forward by Manmohan Singh and Sheikh Hasina.

Regarding the proposed visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to India and Bangladesh between May 5 and May 8, Moni said she was very much welcome in the region.

To a question, she said there was no scheduled meeting between Hasina and West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee.

Moni recollected the contribution of India to the Bangladesh liberation war and said "We (both the countries) are still maintaining that friendly relation."

Describing West Bengal as inseparable from Bangladesh due to their common language and culture, she said, "We are grateful to the state which gave shelter to many refugees during the liberation war."

Moni said she had no official engagement during this visit and she came here only to receive the award given to her by the Mother Teresa International Award Committee.

Moni said she felt honoured receiving an award named after Mother Teresa which was also conferred on Sheikh Hasina in 2006.

She also visited the Mother House, the global headquarters of the Missionaries of Charity today.


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