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Lu comes with very positive note: Hasan

Published : 15 May 2024 10:36 PM | Updated : 16 May 2024 01:13 PM

Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud today said US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu is visiting Bangladesh with a “positive note” to deepen Dhaka-Washington ties.

“He (Lu) came with a very positive note... His visit here is to strengthen ties with Bangladesh,” he told reporters after holding a meeting with Lu at the foreign ministry in Dhaka.

The foreign minister said they talked in a very cordial atmosphere and discussed advancing the multifaceted Bangladesh-US ties.

“We didn’t talk about our election or human rights issues . . . both of us didn’t want to revisit our past ... We want to look at the future,” Hasan said while replying a question.

He said the US assistant secretary assured him that Washington would return the GSP facilities to Bangladeshi products when they reintroduced the programme to help Dhaka to expand its export basket.

However, the foreign minister said, Lu suggested reviewing Bangladesh's labour policy in this regards.

Hasan said he urged the US to invest in Bangladesh’s 40 IT villages and special economic zones.    

The foreign minister said Lu also expressed Washington’s keen interest in assisting Bangladesh in 

strengthening its reserve and financial sector.

Hasan said they also discussed the US cooperation in modernizing the Bangladesh’s taxation system.

Bangladesh foreign minister demanded the US return Rashed Chowdhury, the convicted and self-declared killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is now residing in the US.

In reply, Lu said, though the issue of Rashed Chowdhury has been dealt by the independent US justice department, the US state department will assist Bangladesh mission in Washington to get positive outcomes in this regard.

The foreign minister said they discussed the withdrawal of sanctions on some individuals of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

“The US visa policy (for Bangladeshi citizens) is dormant now, so we didn’t discuss that issue,” he said while replying to a question.

The foreign minister said he also urged the US to put it's efforts to establish peace in Gaza. In reply, Lu said, US secretary of state Antony Blinken is working tirelessly to make a ceasefire in Gaza and he is optimistic about realizing that.

During the meeting, the US assistant secretary of state also assured Bangladesh of Washington's support for compacting with adverse effects of the climate change.

Earlier, after the meeting at a separate briefing to media, Donald Lu said, “The US has been trying to rebuild trust with Dhaka after an episode of “tension” centering Bangladesh’s January 7 general elections.” 

“I visited Bangladesh last two days in order to try to rebuild the trust between our peoples. 

The United States worked very hard to promote free, fair and nonviolent elections here, and it causes some tensions. This is common in our relationship,” he said.

He added: “Last year, we know there were a lot of tensions between the United States and Bangladesh. . . (but, now) we want to look forward not look back; we want to find ways to strengthen our relationship.”