Washington wants to leave behind tensions with Dhaka: Donald Lu

UNB || Shining BD

Published: 5/16/2024 6:08:25 AM

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 tensions 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 two countries.

Talking to reporters on the Ministry of Foreign Affairs premises, Lu said Washington wants to find ways to strengthen bilateral relations with Dhaka.

Lu said he also spoke about working on the hard issues like RAB sanctions, human rights concerns in Bangladesh as well as labour reforms and business climate reforms.

In order to work on the hard issues, Donald Lu said, Washington wants 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," he said.

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

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 said Lu came to Bangladesh to improve bilatarel ties.

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 foreign exchange reserves.

They also talked about modernisation of the taxation system, Rohingya repatriation and the genocide being committed by Israel 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 said.

Senior foreign ministry officials and US Ambassador Peter Haas, among others, were present at the meeting.

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

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

Lu’s Dhaka visit was aimed at deepening Bangladesh-US cooperation on issues including economic ties in ways that would allow the two countries to collaborate further on climate issues, said Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the US Department of State Vedant Patel.

Shining BD