22/04/2014: Dhaka concludes dialogue with US seeking intensified cooperation

Dhaka concludes dialogue with US seeking intensified cooperation
DHAKA, April 22, 2014 (BSS) - Bangladesh and the United States today concluded their third round of security dialogue in three years seeking intensified cooperation in a broader spectrum involving issues like counterterrorism, vulnerability to disasters, secured navigation system and internal and regional security issues.

"It (dialogue) will now take the bilateral ties to a loftier height," US principal deputy assistant secretary Tom Kelly, who led a 26-member US delegation, told a joint press briefing along with secretary for bilateral relations affairs in Bangladesh's foreign ministry Mostafa Kamal, who headed a 35-member team on the home side.

He added: "Civilian supremacy over military is our common desire for stability."

Kamal called the dialogue to be "very fruitful" and appreciated the US for institutionalization of the process of talks for intensive bilateral cooperation.

Senior representatives of armed forces and internal security forces of both the countries like US Homeland Security and Border Guard Bangladesh joined the dialogue in four sessions with specific agenda like identification of shared priorities,military and security issues, global cooperation on weapon proliferation and peacekeeping, global terrorism and technology sharing to face disasters.

Kelly said US security dialogue appeared more fruitful with Bangladesh compared to many other countries while it was part President Barack Obama's plan for extensive engagement in Asia for global security against terrorism and secured navigation to protect the world trade process.

"The United States promotes American interests by helping to ensure nations respect international law and norms, including freedom of navigation and unimpeded commerce, encouraging confidence building and integration among neighboring nations,and that all countries resolve disagreements peacefully without threats or coercion," he said.

Kelly added "Our relationship with Bangladesh fits into this broader strategy and commitment to the rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific" and "The United States recognizes that Bangladesh is located in a vital region, which requires it to play an important role in maintaining security in the Bay of Bengal".

Replying to a question on US support for strengthening Bangladesh military, Kelly said alone in 2014 US provided $2.5 million for enhancing the army's capacity in this South Asian nation.

Asked for comments on US attitude towards Bangladesh's defence engagements with China particularly against the backdrop of a joint naval exercise, the US official said the US was happy with Dhaka's engagement with Washington in military and security affairs while it respects "sovereign Bangladesh's" ties with other countries, including India.

"Bangladesh became more influential in global arena . . . Bangladesh is an emerging leader of the world in 21st century,"he said.

Kamal told the briefing that during the talks Bangladesh sought intensified US support for its peacekeeping operations,disaster management, counter terrorism and community resilience.

Foreign ministry's director general for external affairs Mahfuzur Rahman moderated the briefing session also joined by US ambassador Dan Mozena and US deputy assistant secretary for South Asia Atul Keshap.