Bangladesh's premier Hasina in Saudi Arabia to talk welfare, labour

Bangladesh's premier Hasina in Saudi Arabia to talk welfare, labourDhaka - Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed left Dhaka for Riyadh early Tuesday to discuss with Saudi leaders the welfare of over 2 million Bangladeshi expatriate workers in the gulf kingdom, officials said.

Hasina is scheduled to meet Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdullah Aziz Al Saud on the first day of her five-day visit.

In her first-ever official trip abroad since taking office in early January, Hasina is expected to focus on the welfare of Bangladeshi labourers in Saudi Arabia, who are responsible for the lion's share of Bangladesh's annual 8 billion dollars remittance income.

Hasina will also meet with Saudi Arabia's labour minister.

She is expected to request the Saudi king to recruit more Bangladeshi workers, said Abul Kamal Azad, the prime minister's press secretary.

Officials at the foreign ministry also hinted that the prime minister was to seek Saudi assistance in prosecuting local collaborators with the Pakistani forces who allegedly committed war crimes during Bangladesh's war of liberation in 1971.

Trying the war crimes was part of Hasina's Awami League-led alliance government's election platform.

Hasina is accompanied by Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Overseas Employment and Expatriates Welfare Minister Khandker Musharraf Hossain and State Minister for Employment and Manpower Monnuzan Sufian.

She is to perform an umrah, or pilgrimage to Mecca, and meet with Bangladeshi expatriates.

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