Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken have expressed willingness to further deepen Bangladesh-US relations by advancing common goals and mutual interests.
In a teleconversation yesterday, the foreign minister, who is visiting Washington, and the secretary of state have agreed to work together to further strengthen bilateral relations and enhance cooperation on global issues, read a press release issued by the foreign ministry in Dhaka.
At the beginning of the discussion, Blinken expressed regret that he could not physically meet Momen due to the Covid-19 health restrictions, and termed Bangladesh-US relations as a "growing and deep" one.
The Bangladesh foreign minister stated that Bangladesh wants to elevate its relations with the US from partnership to a strategic level through maintaining close and sustained contact with the US leadership.
In this regard, Momen emphasised the exchange of visits at the highest political levels between the two countries and expressed hope that US President Joe Biden would visit Bangladesh soon.
He also invited Secretary of State Blinken to visit Bangladesh soon to see the socio-economic achievements and to join the celebration of the birth centenary of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and the golden jubilee of the independence of Bangladesh.
The secretary of state lauded Bangladesh's "remarkable" economic performance, noted the existing strong economic partnership between two countries and stated that the US considers Bangladesh as a crucial economic and security partner in the Indo-Pacific region.
On tackling the Covid-19, the foreign minister briefed his counterpart on the Bangladesh government's effective handling of the pandemic.
He said that Bangladeshis are ready to supply medical instruments to the US, like syringes, added the press release.
Mentioning the recently held US-Bangladesh Economic Partnership Consultation, Secretary Blinken said that the consultation had created great opportunities to advance cooperation in health, energy and business sectors.
He sought favourable policy support from Bangladesh government to secure enabling business and investment climate for promoting more trade and investment between the two countries.
The foreign minister welcomed US investment in special economic zones and high-tech parks, underscoring the higher return of investment from Bangladesh as well as the good connectivity.
Both sides expressed their optimism that the US companies would take advantage of the competitiveness of Bangladesh and invest in the country in much greater volume particularly in the areas of ICT, energy, pharmaceuticals and infrastructural development.
The foreign minister also requested the US secretary of state to consider providing assistance in water management.
Both sides agreed to work together on the promotion of democracy, good governance and human rights.
The Bangladesh foreign minister underscored the need for early deportation of Rashed Chowdhury, the self-confessed killer of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, in the spirit of the shared values of establishing good governance, rule of law and justice.
Meanwhile, the foreign minister thanked the US government for its humanitarian and political support to Bangladesh to cope with the Rohingya exodus.
In this regard, he emphasised that the US should take the lead and bring the international community together to put enough political pressure on Myanmar to create the condition for sustainable return of the Rohingyas.
Thanking the US government for imposing sanctions on some individuals, he encouraged the US government to take more stringent measures like imposing economic sanction and withdrawing GSP facilities of Myanmar.
Foreign Minister Momen further recommended that the US may appoint a special envoy on Rohingya, in order to press Myanmar to create a conducive environment for the repatriation of the displaced Rohingyas to Myanmar.
Secretary Blinken appreciated Bangladesh for sheltering over one million Rohingyas and showed his government's full understanding of the tremendous pressure it has created on the government and the people of Bangladesh.
Expressing concern on the disruption in the democratic process in Myanmar, Secretary Blinken assured that the US would continue its support for Bangladesh on Rohingya issue.
Foreign Minister Momen is currently visiting Washington DC on an official trip to reach out to the new administration to enhance the level of cooperation between Bangladesh and the United States.