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US to rebuild Dhaka-Washington trust leaving behind tension: LU

Eds: Updates with briefing

Special Correspondent Diplomacy 2024-05-15, 6:13pm

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US to rebuild Dhaka-Washington trust leaving behind tension: LU



Dhaka, May 15 - US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu on Wednesday described his Bangladesh visit as an effort to "rebuild the trust" between the people of the two countries.

"Last year, there were a lot of tension between US and Bangladesh," he told reporters in a brief statement, noting that they want to look forward.

Lu had a courtesy meeting with Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud at his office and discussed ways to deepen the relations between the two countries.

The United States side said they stand with Bangladesh in building a "prosperous, secure, and democratic" future.

"Our discussion with the Foreign Minister today reaffirmed our shared commitment to cultivating economic growth, bolstering the workforce, improving security cooperation, addressing the climate crisis and reinforcing our values of respecting democracy and human rights," said the US side.

Talking to reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Lu said they want to find ways to strengthen the relationship.

"So I spoke about working the hard issues. We have lots of hard issues -- RAB sanction, labour reforms, we have human rights, business climate reforms," Donald Lu said.

In order to work on hard issues, he said, they want to build up the cooperation on positive issues.

"We are talking about new investments, more Bangladeshi students who want to study in the US and how to work on clean energy," Donald Lu said.

The US also wants to support Bangladesh in fighting corruption, hold the officials accountable, ensure transparency and help widen tax net.

Donald Lu said the US worked very hard to promote free, fair and non-violent elections which caused tension. "It is common in our relationship."

In a separate briefing, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud said Lu came to Bangladesh to improve the relations.

On GSP issue, the foreign minister said the US wants to help Bangladesh get it back when they reintroduce the programme.

He said the US also wants to help Bangladesh strengthen its reserve.

They also talked about modernisation of the taxation system, Rohingya repatriation issue and genocide in Palestine.

"He told me that they also want to see peace in Gaza. They are hopeful and agreed that peace needs to be established there," Hasan Mahmud said.

Senior Foreign Ministry officials and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas, among others, were present.

Assistant Secretary Donald Lu held a meeting with Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury and discussed bilateral issues with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Wednesday.

Lu arrived here on Tuesday to "strengthen bilateral cooperation" and to demonstrate US support for a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

His visit was aimed at deepening Bangladesh-US cooperation, and the economic ties in ways that the two countries can collaborate further to address climate issues, said Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the US Department of State Vedant Patel.-UNB