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Momen-Blinken talk

Dhaka, Washington keen to further bolster bilateral ties

Published : 11 Apr 2023 10:50 PM

Bangladesh and the United States have expressed their eagerness to further bolster bilateral ties for the next 50 years, building on the solid foundation of the past 50 years.

The two countries showed the keenness during the official talks between visiting Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the US Department of State in Washington DC on Monday.

In their introductory remarks in the presence of media, both the leaders expressed satisfaction over the existing bilateral relations and echoed their desire to further enhance bilateral ties for the next 50 years, building on the solid foundation of the past a half a century, the foreign ministry said.

Terming Bangladesh-US relationship wide-ranging, dynamic and multifaceted, Dr. Momen hoped to develop, strengthen and solidify the ties. 

He thanked President Joe Biden for his warm message to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the occasion of the Independence Day of Bangladesh, which the US President ended with “Joy Bangla”. 

 During the meeting, the two leaders discussed various bilateral and other issues of mutual interest, including strengthening and diversifying economic partnership, addressing Rohingya crisis and climate change, labour rights, civil liberty, and elections.

 Apprising the US Secretary of State of the ongoing and completed works in labour sector reforms in Bangladesh, the Foreign Minister hoped that these efforts would be duly acknowledged and appreciated through stronger economic partnership between the two countries. 

 Blinken lauded the ongoing US-Bangladesh consultative process in improving labour situation in Bangladesh.

  Dr. Momen called upon the United States to take advantage of the generous investment regime of Bangladesh and encourage the US private sector to invest in special economic zones and hi-tech parks in Bangladesh.

 The Foreign Minister thanked the US government for their generous support in combating COVID-19 pandemic and continued humanitarian support for the Rohingyas sheltered in Bangladesh.

 He stressed the need for sustained international pressure on Myanmar for creating environment for voluntary repatriation of Rohingyas to Myanmar. 

Secretary Blinken highly praised Bangladesh for generously hosting over one million Rohingyas and assured to continue work towards repatriation of the Rohingyas. 

 The Foreign Minister echoed with the US Secretary of State on the importance of a free and fair elections and reaffirmed the commitment of Bangladesh government in this regard. 

He reiterated Bangladesh’s request to extradite Rashed Chowdhury, a self-confessed killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

US Principal Deputy Spokesperson Vedant Patel in a statement said Blinken thanked Bangladesh for hosting Rohingya refugees and highlighted the nearly $2.1 billion in U.S. humanitarian assistance since 2017, which includes $23.8 million in new assistance to the World Food Programme to deliver urgent food and nutrition services to Rohingya refugees. He reiterated US's commitment to promoting inclusive economic growth, free and fair elections, human and labor rights, and freedom of expression in Bangladesh.

Additionally, Secretary Blinken expressed concerns about violence against and intimidation of the media and civil society, including under the Digital Security Act. He underscored that free and fair elections and respect for human rights in Bangladesh are critical as we seek to deepen our bilateral relationship.

At the end of the meeting, Dr. Momen handed over a letter that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina wrote to US President Joe Biden to thank him for his warm message on the Independence Day of Bangladesh. 

 Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Muhammad Imran, Deputy Head of Mission Ferdousi Shahriar, Director General (North America) Khandker Masudul Alam, and officials of the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were present at the meeting.

 Counselor Derek Chollet, Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration Julieta Valls Noyes, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Kara McDonald, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Afreen Akhter accompanied Secretary Blinken in the meeting.