Argentina's government wants to boost relations with the People's Republic of Bangladesh and will re-open its Embassy in Dhaka as it seeks to capitalise on the furore in the Asian country's following last year's World Cup win in Qatar.
The national side – and especially star forward Lionel Messi – have a huge fanbase in the South Asian country, where cricket is king but football is building a devoted following. Millions of Bangladeshis threw their support behind the Albiceleste during the Qatar 2022 World Cup. The extent of the support was even remarked upon by President Alberto Fernández, who expressed his gratitude to Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in a series of messages.
As a result, Argentina's Foreign Ministry has now decided to reopen its Embassy in Bangladesh in a bid to further boost bilateral relations between the two nations.
Negotiations over the move were led by Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero and motivated by the massive support felt by Lionel Scaloni's side during football's premier tournament. Cafiero will travel to Dhaka on February 27 to inaugurate the new diplomatic station and attend talks on trade and investment.
Confirmation of the news arrived this week, when the government published Decree 67/2023 in the Official Gazette ordering "the reopening of the Embassy of the Republic in the People's Republic of Bangladesh, based in the city of Dhaka."
The Embassy was previously shuttered in 1978 by the military junta that ruled over Argentina. Diplomatic operations, such as visas in order to travel, have since been handled by the Embassy in neighbouring India.
"It is considered opportune and convenient to reopen the Embassy of the Republic in the People's Republic of Bangladesh, in accordance with foreign policy guidelines based on political, strategic and commercial reasons," read the decree, which was signed by Cafiero and President Alberto Fernández.
"With the reopening of the Embassy and its Consulate, the aim is to exploit the potential of the bilateral relationship, mainly in the commercial aspect that has a wide potential for growth, seeking to diversify trade and Argentina's exportable supply, currently focused on oils, cereals, flour and soybean, in order to meet the growing demand of the Bangladeshi market, a territory of 170 million people. Also, to promote cooperation in the field of sports, satellite, humanitarian aid and disaster management," said the Foreign Ministry.
Cafiero trailed news of the re-opening of the Embassy last December after holding a meeting with his Bangladeshi counterpart, Abul Kalam Abdul Momen, on the sidelines of a United Nations conference on nuclear weapons control.
According to government data, bilateral trade between the two countries totalled around US$900 million last year, with a large trade surplus for Argentina.