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Bangladesh wants stronger ties with US: Momen

Staff Reporter:

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said Bangladesh wants to improve its ties with the United States with a stronger trade relationship in the next 50 years.
“We have been maintaining a very good relationship with the USA,” he told reporters in Washington on Sunday, noting that he is visiting the US to discuss ways to advance the Bangladesh-US ties on key fronts over the next five decades.
Responding to a question, Momen said he will raise the issue of Rashed Chowdhury, a convicted killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is moving freely in the United States.
“This is a country with rule of law. We hope the US will not be a shelter for killers,” Momen said, add-ing that Bangladesh wants to establish the rule of law in the country.
Momen and US Secretary of State Antony J Blinken are scheduled to have a bilateral meeting in Wash-ington Monday (1:30pm US Time).
During the meeting, Bangladesh will seek efforts to enhance relations on trade and investment fronts, reiterate its call for the return of the Bangabandhu’s killer, withdrawal of sanctions on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and discuss issues of mutual interests.
The two sides will also focus on their ongoing cooperation to deal with the climate crisis, meet the needs of Rohingyas, their safe return to Myanmar, and promote regional security through UN peacekeeping operations.
The US is likely to raise issues related to democracy and human rights, said a diplomatic source in Dha-ka.
About the US concern regarding democracy in Bangladesh, the foreign minister has recently said: “We fought for democracy. Three million people gave their lives to uphold democracy and human rights. So, we don’t need lessons on democracy.”
“We want a fair election. America also wants a fair election; we don’t disagree with that. We have al-ready made necessary institutional arrangements to ensure a free and fair election,” he said.
The foreign minister is scheduled to return home on April 13.
On April 4 last year, Blinken met with Momen to celebrate and reflect on the 50th anniversary of Bang-ladesh-US relations.
They discussed the “tremendous economic potential” of the relationship and reflected on the ways the two countries collaborated over the last half century – including in growing people-to-people ties with vibrant Fulbright exchanges.
Talking to reporters on Wednesday in Dhaka, Momen said: “I’d say we’re lucky because the American secretary of state doesn’t give invitations frequently. We got three in a row. America is paying much attention to our journey on the highway of development.”
Asked what will be discussed in the meeting with the US secretary of state, Momen said the Rohingya and bilateral trade issues will come up.

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