With an effort to enhance the cooperation between the two countries, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held bilateral meeting in Washington, D.C. on April 8.
In the meeting, USA focused on the issues of security, counterterrorism and economic cooperation. Bangladesh was highlighted as a key partner in the Indo-Pacific. It also emphasized the importance of advancing good governance, transparency, and democratic values.
On the other hand, Bangladesh sought US help on repatriation of Rohingya. Bangladesh also gave special emphasis on deportation of Bangabandhu’s killer Rashed Chowdhury from USA to Bangladesh, US investments in Bangladesh, duty and quota free access of Bangladesh’s garments products in the US market.
This was the first meeting between the two Foreign Ministers since their assumption of office in respective governments.
After the meeting, a statement was issued by the US Department of State, saying that Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo met in Washington with Bangladesh Foreign Minister A.K. Abdul Momen and discussed increasing economic, security, and counterterrorism cooperation.
“The Secretary emphasized the importance of advancing good governance, transparency, and democratic values, as Bangladesh continues its emergence as a key partner in the Indo-Pacific,” said the statement.
The US Secretary of State underscored that the responsibility for resolution of Rohingya crisis rests with Myanmar, which must create the necessary conditions for voluntary repatriation.
Pompeo emphasized how they will work with the international community to increase support for Rohingyas and host communities, while addressing the root causes and conditions in Myanmar.
He lauded Bangladesh’s generosity in continuing to host over one million Rohingyas from Myanmar.
Bangladesh Embassy in Washington also issued a press release on the meeting, saying that Bangladesh has sought US support to create a safe zone in Rakhine for Rohingyas, monitored by international human rights groups, with credible international pressure on Myanmar for their safe return.
“Issues featuring in the meeting were: repatriation of the Rohingyas and creation of credible international pressure on Myanmar in that respect, deportation of Bangabandhu’s killer Rashed Chowdhury from USA to Bangladesh, shared vision of a Free and Open Indo-Pacific, US investments in Bangladesh, duty and quota free access of Bangladesh’s garments products in the US market and US-Bangladesh partnership in multiple sectors,” said the press release.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister informed in the meeting that Bangladesh at its own expense has developed the island “Bhashanchar” into a livable place in which hundred thousand Rohingyas are planned to be relocated in coordination with UN agencies and different aid groups.
The US Secretary of State re-assured that the one million plus forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals have to return to Myanmar without any form of fear and persecution.
He said it is the responsibility of the Myanmar government and military to create conducive environment so that the Rohingyas feel safe to return home.
The US Secretary of State reiterated that US would stand beside Bangladesh (both politically and financially) in finding a permanent solution to the Rohingya crisis.
He also lauded the humanitarian gesture of the government led by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for temporarily sheltering the persecuted Rohingyas.
Regarding deportation of Bangabandhu’s self-confessed and convicted killer Rashed Chowdhury from the USA, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister pointed out that he is fleeing justice.
He said this is essential to carry out a vital common agenda of both countries pertaining to Counter-terrorism and Countering-Violent Extremism and upholding rule of law.
Both ministers agreed that for greater prosperity in the Indo-Pacific region, vital energy and infrastructure projects need to be implemented on regional partnership basis.
In that respect, leaders of the region need to work together on issues such as governance, accountability, rule of law and maritime security.
Dr. Momen stated that Bangladesh is lauded internationally for its impressive development journey.
He sought more investment from the USA in the oil and gas sector and US presence in the Special Economic Zones.
Foreign Minister Momen sought US support to the candidature of Bangladesh in the upcoming election to the post of Deputy Director General of International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Bangladesh Foreign Minister also held meetings with senior officials of the US State Department and Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman. Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Ambassador Mohammad Ziauddin accompanied the Minister at the meetings.
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