US acting Assistant Secretary of State Alice G Wells has stressed the importance of “credible and contested” municipal elections in Bangladesh.
Wells, who wrapped up their three-day visit to Bangladesh on Thursday evening, discussed the issue during her meeting with opposition leaders from BNP and the Jatiya Party, said the US Embassy in Dhaka in a media release on Thursday night.
During her time in Dhaka, the acting assistant secretary also hosted roundtables with representatives of US apparel brands, and manufacturers and labour groups to hear more about ongoing efforts to improve labour rights and working conditions.
She met young leaders working to shape Bangladesh’s future through innovative approaches to volunteerism, community outreach and development, and entrepreneurship.
United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Deputy Administrator Bonnie Glick and acting Assistant Secretary Wells visited Bangladesh from November 5-7 to promote and expanded US-Bangladesh bilateral relations, increase commercial and security ties, and address the ongoing Rohingya humanitarian crisis.
Their visits are among the many initiatives of the US government to promote greater cooperation, dialogue and mutual understanding between Bangladesh and the United States, and a strong partnership to help ensure a free and open Indo-Pacific region.
They met government officials, international and implementing partners and key Bangladeshi communities to further relations between the United States and Bangladesh and address key areas of cooperation.
While in Dhaka, Deputy Administrator Glick met Executive Chairman of the Bangladesh Investment Development Authority Sirazul Islam to reinforce USAID’s commitment to supporting the government of Bangladesh’s efforts to improve the business-enabling environment.
At an event at the American Chamber of Commerce, she highlighted USAID’s partnership with the government of Bangladesh and the private sector to diversify Bangladesh’s economy and stimulate new economic growth.
She announced the results of a recent USAID assessment of emerging industries that hold the highest potential for economic growth for Bangladesh.
These emerging industries include agri-business, information and communications technology, light engineering, tourism, energy, and health.
Acting Assistant Secretary Wells met Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen, Prime Minister’s Advisor on International Affairs Dr Gowher Rizvi and Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque for reviewing the US-Bangladesh relationship; supporting the response to the Rohingya crisis; enhancing defence cooperation; strengthening governance and rule of law; and highlighting the US Indo-Pacific Strategy’s opportunities for further US-Bangladesh partnership.
She also met Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan to discuss counterterrorism cooperation and the US support for fully implementing Bangladesh’s National Plan of Action to eliminate trafficking in persons.