US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has recognized the elite force RAB's important counterterrorism role, but stated that lifting sanctions and resuming training with American forces may take time.
During his bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at the US State Department on Monday, Secretary Blinken appreciated that Bangladesh is reexamining the Digital Security Act (DSA).
Regarding the human rights related issues, both sides stressed upon the fact that there are some noticeable developments in the last four months.
Foreign Minister Momen emphasized that Bangladeshi law enforcers need training from the US on rules of engagement, and informed that there is an inbuilt system of inquiry in the RAB, which tracks all allegations, based on which a number of personnel have been penalized.
Depicting the context of the creation of RAB in 2004, he underscored that RAB has played a pivotal role in Bangladesh’s counter-terrorism efforts, which may be undermined by the sanctions.
Momen also sought the US Secretary of State’s attention and assistance for realizing the deportation of Rashed Chowdhury, one of the convicted killers of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is residing in the US.
Appreciating ongoing works of the tripartite group on labour rights, he underscored that labour rights is an important determinant of Biden Administration’s foreign policy.
Noting that Bangladesh is not getting development finance due to the labour rights issues, he stressed upon resolving all the impediments.
He positively responded to the proposal of deepening maritime cooperation as two countries have the shared goal of a free and secure Indo-Pacific.
Two side discussed the whole gamut of US-Bangladesh bilateral relations.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister thanked the United States for providing more than 61 million doses of COVID-19 vaccine so far, the highest received by any country from the US.
Referring to the congratulatory letter from US President Joe Biden to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, he appreciated that the warmth of the message.
Stating that Bangladesh has made huge socio-economic progress in last 50 years, Foreign Minister Momen termed the US as an all-time friend of Bangladesh in its journey towards development as the largest trading partner as well as the largest investor in accumulated term.
He appreciated that the US has finally determined that genocide took place in Myanmar in 2017, and opined that the US should suspend GSP and reimpose sanctions on Myanmar in order to put pressure so that Myanmar resolves the crisis.
He opined that the US needs to diversify investment portfolio, and can consider investing in the infrastructure sector in Bangladesh.
He depicted Bangladesh’s potential in terms of young population including around 700,000 IT professionals; and also proposed that there may be joint investment proposals in pharmaceutical sectors.
He also urged for assistance from the US in developing blue economy, opining that this may enable two countries to work together in building a secure Indo-Pacific region.