BD, US to discuss 3 broad areas with security on top

BD, US to discuss 3 broad areas with security on top


Amid growing attacks on innocent people on both sides, Bangladesh and the United States will have a very broad discussion in the upcoming Partnership Dialogue to be held in Washington with security cooperation having on top of the agenda.“As security is the number one task of any government, it’ll remain on top of the agenda of the upcoming Partnership Dialogue,” US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat told UNB before leaving for Washington on Thursday, mentioning that importance on security is not being given by mistake, rather it deserves so.Asked whether the US side will raise the issue of strengthening private security forces engaged for the security of its officials in Dhaka, Bernicat said they want to see the force “as robust as possible” as the local guards are not allowed to use arms as per the local law.The US side acknowledges that the Bangladeshi police provide “outstanding and professional” protection to US diplomats but the Embassy is interested exploring option of some of the Bangladeshi private security “carrying arms”.Besides, like most diplomatic missions and thousands of other establishments in Dhaka, the Embassy relies on private Bangladeshi security companies for secondary protection needs.

The US side will flag the issue in the coming fifth Partnership Dialogue between the two countries to be held on June 23-24.The US side will enquire about the progress over investigation into USAID official Xulhaz Mannan’s killing as the US government wants a transparent investigation into it so that the actual killers are tried.“We want to see a transparent investigation into it and want to see that killers are tried,” Bernicat said.Xulhaz, an advocate for LGBT rights, and his friend Mahbub Tonoy were hacked to death at his Kalabagan flat on April 25. The US will continue to work closely with Bangladeshi police to see that the killers are identified and punished.The US will also want to see Bangladesh addresses a number of crucial issues, including human rights, governance, transnational crimes and cyber security as both countries need to find out ways to those challenges thus boosting ties further.Money laundering and terror financing, migration, capacity building of law enforcement agencies, trade and investment and environment, education issues will also be discussed in the partnership dialogue, which both sides consider as a “big umbrella” dialogue.Since internet is becoming a very important part of economy, both countries want to see it safe. The two countries will discuss how better internet can be monitored to protect system because the attackers know how to find out weak points, said a foreign ministry source.The two countries will also look into two transnational crimes — money laundering and terror financing — as these are “very complex” issues and will find ways on how to stop the “illegal movement” of money.Overall human rights issue will come up “broadly” in the discussion as there are reports that people are being harassed in the name of arrest of criminals and reported extrajudicial killings, foreign ministry sources said.Both the countries will also discuss on projects focusing democracy and the rule of law and ways to keep society free from conflicts denying extremists views and will make fresh pledge that they want to do all the things to help flourish democracy.The US government is deeply touched by the condolence message sent to US President Barack Obama after the deadliest attack in a gay nightclub in Orlando, a city in central Florida that claimed 50 lives and injured many.Bernicat also appreciated it terming the message “strong and compassionate”.There have been widespread debates in the public domain over the presence of ISIL in Bangladesh and the government continued to say that there is no evidence of ISIL’s presence in Bangladesh.The US, apparently stepping back from the debate over ISIL’s presence, is now saying that terrorism is a global threat and therefore its presence is global and there is no need talk about where an organisation is or is not.“ISIL has global reach and can be everywhere thanks to the internet,” Bernicat said adding that the two governments have agreed that it is a global threat and they have to work on it globally and jointly.There is an standing explanation globally that if someone goes on to his or her computer and can reach by somebody in ISIL or can find somebody in ISIL and talk to them then they are present in his or her life and they can distort his or her life.


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