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US trying to rebuild trust with BD: Lu

Staff Reporter:

The United States has been trying to rebuild trust with Dhaka after an episode of “tension” centering Bangladesh’s January 7 general elections, visiting US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Donald Lu said yesterday.
“I visited Bangladesh last two days in order to try to rebuild the trust between our peoples. The United States worked very hard to promote free, fair and non violent elections here, and it causes some tensions. This is common in our relationship,” he said.
He added: “Last year, we know there were a lot of tensions between the United States and Bangladesh. . . (but, now) we want to look forward not look back; we want to find ways to strengthen our relation-ship.”
Lu made the comments emerging from a meeting with foreign minister Dr Hasan Mahmud at the foreign ministry here.
Lu said he talked with the foreign minister about working on the “hard things” in Bangladesh-US rela-tionships.
“We have lots of hard issues, (like) RAB sanction, we have (issues of) labour reforms, we have human rights, and business climate reforms,” he added.
But, Lu said, Washington also wants to build up the cooperation with Dhaka on a positive issues as well “to work on the hard issues”.
“We’re talking about new investments, we’re talking about the more Bangladeshi students to study in the United States, we are talking about how we work together on clean energy,” he said.
Lu said the issue of corruption also came up in their talks while they discussed how to work together to fight corruption.
“We can do to promote transparency of government, to promote accountability of the officials, who may have committed accept corruption,” he said.
The assistant secretary also said Washington would like to help Bangladesh broaden its tax net, so that all Bangladeshis could pay their fair share.
“It’s been a wonderful experience, we’re back in Bangladesh,” he said as the final sentence of his state-ment.
Lu was accompanied by US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas.
Lu arrived here on Tuesday on a three-day visit to strengthen bilateral cooperation between Washington and Dhaka as well as to demonstrate US support for a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

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