Bangladesh has ruled out any pressure from the US but sees greater engagements and high-level exchange of visits between the two countries in the coming months giving an indication of the upward trend in relations.
“Not at all, absolutely not at all,” State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam told reporters when he was asked to respond whether the government is under pressure from the US on various issues.
When his attention was drawn about media reports on the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs suggesting US’ pressure, he also ruled it saying no such remarks (US is exerting pressure on Bangladesh) were made by any member of the committee.
“Any conversation at the parliamentary standing committee is highly classified and confidential,” the State Minister said, adding that there is no scope that this conversation will go beyond the committee.
He said the bilateral talks between the two countries through a number of platforms including “Partnership Dialogue” will begin next month.
Apart from that, Shahriar said, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has been invited by his US counterpart Antony Blinken to pay a visit to the USA.
The United States recognised Bangladesh on April 4, 1972, in a press statement from Secretary of State William Rogers.
Asked about the invitation of Blinken to Foreign Minister Dr Momen and visit of US Ambassador-designate to Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, Ambassador M Shahidul Islam told UNB that both Bangladesh and the USA are working together to further advance the bilateral relations.
“I think these engagements show that the US is also keen to further strengthen the existing friendly ties,” said the Bangladesh envoy.
The State Minister for Foreign Affairs said they have nothing to say afresh on the sanction issue as he thinks much has been talked about it. “We remain bilaterally engaged with the US.”
He said the discussions and high-level visits in March and April together will create an environment of more friendly relations between the two countries.
The State Minister said the government is looking forward to taking legal aspects into consideration for withdrawal of the sanctions apart from making sure that there will be no expansion of sanctions.
Bangladesh Embassy in Washington and other Bangladesh missions in the United States have further geared up their activities to further strengthen the bilateral relations and cooperation as well as to withdraw sanctions on the current and former RAB officials, sources said.
While visiting the Bangladesh mission in Washington DC on Friday, the US Ambassador-designate to Bangladesh Peter D. Haas said that he looks forward to working together with Dhaka to move "forward and continue" the relationship between the two countries.
Hass, who is expected to arrive in Dhaka in early March, also said they want to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties all year long and try to find the opportunities and recognize the tremendous progress that Bangladesh made in the past 50 years.
Bangladesh and the United States plan to hold the next round of “partnership dialogue” in March as the two sides seek to have a “deeper engagement” on core issues of mutual interest, officials say.
Issues related to cooperation on development, humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, governance, particularly human rights, security, counterterrorism; and cooperation on Covid-19 front are likely to be reviewed and discussed in the partnership dialogue.
US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Ambassador Victoria Nuland will arrive here to co-chair the partnership dialogue with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen.