07/09/2012: Hon. Foreign Minister's meeting with Acting US Secretary of State


Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. Dipu Moni, MP, today (5 September 2012) had a meeting with the US Acting Secretary of State William J Burns.

At the hour long meeting at the US State Department, both leaders discussed issues of mutual interests such as bilateral trade and investment, development, energy and security sector cooperation and the upcoming Partnership Dialogue.

Referring to the trial of the self-confessed killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the presence of killer Rashed Chowdhury in the USA, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister stressed that the ‘land of freedom’ should not be used as a safe haven by any killer. She sought US cooperation for an expeditious removal of Rashed Chowdhury from the USA and handing over to the Bangladesh authorities so that he could be subjected to the Court. Secretary Burns assured the Bangladesh Minister a serious review of the issue.

Regarding Bangladesh’s garments export to the USA, Dr. Dipu Moni noted that the duty free and quota free market access for the Asian LDCs including Bangladesh would significantly contribute to the expansion of their trading ties with the USA. Secretary Burns hoped that the Trade and Investment Framework Cooperation Agreement (TICFA) that Bangladesh and the USA hope to conclude soon would provide a framework to look into and duly address the high tariff issue. Both sides expressed hope that the remaining issue surrounding TICFA would be worked out soon. As suggested by the US side during Secretary Clinton’s visit to Dhaka, Dr. Dipu Moni and Secretary Burns agreed that experts from both sides would dwell on the issue of Bangladesh’s inclusion in the Millennium Challenge Account at the ensuing first ever meeting of Bangladesh-US partnership dialogue.

Secretary Burns highly lauded Bangladesh’s impressive development journey and mentioned of the initiatives from the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to improve ties with the neighbouring states that complements regional connectivity. Regarding the US concern over the Grameen Bank issue, the Bangladesh Foreign Minister informed Mr. Burns that the government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is committed to protecting the interests of millions of women borrowers of this Nobel Prize winning institution. Foreign Minister Dr. Moni asserted that Grameen Bank has now been functioning legally and more efficiently than ever before.

Both leaders were upbeat about a very successful outcome of the Bangladesh-USA  partnership dialogue slated for later this month. Bangladesh Ambassador to the USA Mr. Akramul Qader, Assistant Secretary of Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Ambassador Robert O Blake, senior officials from Bangladesh foreign office and Embassy in the USA were also present at the meeting.

Later in the day the Assistant US Trade Representative for South Asia Mr. Michael J. Delaney called on the Bangladesh Foreign Minister at her hotel suite. At the call-on pertinent trade related issues such as Bangladesh garments export, GSP facilities in the US market, welfare of RMG workers, signing of TICFA etc came up. The Bangladesh Foreign Minister stressed the need for due recognition to be given to Bangladesh for  achievements made by the latter in areas of democracy, rule of law, economy, human rights, human development, environment, women empowerment, relations with neighbours, active participation in global peace building despite multiple challenges. Mr. Delaney shared with the Foreign Minister some ideas and country practices who concluded TICFA with the USA and the scope of the two trading nations to work together in future.

Source: The Financial Express, Dhaka