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PM to visit Italy, Vatican City

DHAKA, Feb 9, 2018 (BSS) - Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will visit Rome, the capital of Italy, and Vatican City from February 12 to 14 next to attend the annual governing council meeting of Rome-based International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD).

The Prime Minister and members of her entourage will leave Dhaka for Rome on February 11 next and return home on February 15, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali told a press briefing here yesterday morning.

At an invitation of Pope Francis, the premier will visit the Holy See (Vatican City) on February 12 where she will hold a meeting with Pope Francis.

Pope Francis had earlier visited Bangladesh from November 31 to December 2 last at the invitation of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. During his visit to Bangladesh, Pope went to Cox's Bazar Rohingya camps where he talked to the forcefully displaced Rohingya people.

Sheikh Hasina will attend the 40th founding anniversary programme of IFAD on February 13 at the invitation of IFAD President Gilbert F Houngbo. She will present a keynote paper at the inaugural session of the governing council meeting.

The theme of the IFAD governing council meeting is -'From Fragility to long-term resilience: investing in sustainable rural economics'.

Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Agriculture Minister Begum Matia Chowdhury and Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will accompany the Prime Minister during her visit.

Mahmood Ali said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her keynote speech will highlight the country's successes and achievements in agriculture sector apart from other development initiatives of her government.

"She (Prime Minister) will also focus on various steps taken by her government for development of youths, improving living standard of the poor and rural marginal people and the role of local government to this end," he said.

IFAD has been implementing various development projects in Bangladesh over the last 30 years for poverty reduction and improving food and nutrition standard of people here.

IFAD has so far provided $782 million assistance to different development projects in Bangladesh as grants and soft loan to this end.