Argentina reopens Bangladesh embassy after soccer World Cup fever

Dhaka, Feb 27 (EFE).- Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero on Monday reopened his country’s embassy in Bangladesh – shut down during the military dictatorship of Jorge Videla over 40 years ago – with a screen showing soccer world cup footage in the backdrop, as Argentina’s team has a massive fan-following in the South Asian nation.

“Today we are fulfilling a moral, ethical and historic duty by reopening this embassy. It seemed like Argentina and Bangladesh had succumbed to forgetting each other,” Cafiero told reporters after raising the Argentinean flag in Dhaka.

It was soccer, an unexpected trigger, “that brought out Bangladesh’s love for Argentina for the world to see,” the minister added.

Cafiero landed in Bangladesh on Monday for a two-day official visit to boost trade and cultural ties, and said that the Bangladeshi fans who waved the Argentine flag during the Qatar 2022 World Cup were the true catalysts of the diplomatic mission being established.

Images of Bangladeshi fans celebrating Argentina’s victory had gone viral around the world, although the locals’ support for the South American teams dates back to the 1986 World Cup, when Diego Maradona had scored a historic brace to defeat England – Bangladesh’s former colonizers – in the quarterfinals.

The possibility of reopening the embassy took shape after Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina congratulated Argentine President Alberto Ángel Fernández after the world cup victory.

During his visit, Cafiero is set to meet his Bangladeshi counterpart AK Abdul Momen to sign several agreement, including one on cooperation in soccer.

The visiting top diplomat will on Tuesday meet the president of the Bangladesh Football Federation, although economic and bilateral ties are also in focus during the visit, with several Argentinean business executives accompanying Cafiero for the trip.

Argentina and Bangladesh established diplomatic ties in 1972 and months later in 1973, the president of the time – Juan Domingo Peron – decided to open a diplomatic mission in the South Asian country, which had gained independence recently.

In 1978, a military junta ruling Argentina shut down the embassy citing budget restrictions.

In 2021, Argentina’s exports to Bangladesh – mainly soy oil, flour and pellets or oil-cakes extracted from soy, corn and wheat oils – stood at $876 million, with Buenos Aires enjoying a trade surplus worth $862 million. EFE


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