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Development aid is focus of Deiss visit to Bangladesh

Deiss visit comes as Bangladesh is struggling to cope with floods

(Keystone)

The foreign minister, Joseph Deiss, has arrived in Bangladesh on the third and final leg of his eight-day tour of southeast Asia. He will spend two days in the country, meeting political leaders and visiting Swiss-funded development projects.

The first-ever visit to Bangladesh by a Swiss foreign minister is expected to produce agreement on increased Swiss investment in the country.

Bangladesh is a major recipient of Swiss development aid, receiving around SFr25 million a year for different purposes. Deiss is due to visit water supply, sanitation, rural infrastructure and transport projects, all of which benefit from Swiss funding.

In addition to long-term aid, Switzerland has donated SFr200,000 to help the victims of the recent flooding in Bangladesh.

Deiss travelled to Bangladesh from the Philippines, where he held talks with the president, Joseph Estrada. However, the visit was overshadowed by the deepening corruption scandal surrounding the president, who is alleged to have accepted payoffs from gambling bosses.

The first leg of his tour took Deiss to Thailand where he met political leaders, including the deputy prime minister, Supachai Panichpakdi, who takes over as head of the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation in two years' time.

swissinfo with agencies


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