The issue has been in the spotlight as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged Washington to share intelligence information at an Awami League meeting last Friday
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen was set to meet his US counterpart Mike Pompeo yesterday and discuss sharing of intelligence information in the backdrop of issuing a travel alert for Bangladesh.
The issue has been in the spotlight as Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina urged Washington to share intelligence information at an Awami League meeting last Friday.
Momen left Dhaka on Saturday and was scheduled to meet Deputy National Security Adviser Charles Kupperman, and bureau chiefs of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor (DRL), Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), and South and Central Asian Affairs at the US State Department yesterday.
He will also meet Senator Chris Murphy, ranking member of Foreign Relations sub-committee on near East, Central Asia, South Asia, and Counter-terrorism today. USAID Administrator Mark Green will also call on the minister today.
The foreign minister will discuss issues related to trade and investment, repatriation of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s killer Rashed Chowdhury, Rohingya crisis, Indo-Pacific Strategy, labour, migration, and democracy.
An official said, intelligence sharing has emerged as a new issue and it would be included in the discussion with Pompeo and Kupperman.
“There is a proposal from the US side to sign an agreement on sharing intelligence information, but we are yet to respond to it,” he said.
US intelligence agencies are legally barred to share detailed information with any country without an agreement, but they can give preliminary information, he added.
Meeting with Pompeo
Trade and investment, repatriation of Rashed Chowdhury, Rohingya, cooperation in counter-terrorism and other issues will be discussed with the US secretary of state, said an official.
The US is the biggest investor in Bangladesh with about $4 billion investment and most of it in the energy sector. The North American country is the biggest destination for Bangladesh’s export product.
“We want to offer them an exclusive special economic zone to set up factories and they can also invest more in the energy sector,” he added.
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Dhaka wants Washington to put more pressure on Myanmar to resolve Rohingya crisis and these people can go back to their country safely and with dignity, the official said.
Indo-Pacific Strategy is a US agenda and Bangladesh endorses free, open, inclusive and rule-based Indo Pacific region.
About the strategic relationship between the two countries, the official said: “it would take little time as democracy and human rights are two core issues of US foreign policy.”
“We have different views about democracy and human rights and we must reach a convergence point to have such type relationship,” added the official.
Meeting with Kupperman
Officials said the issues that will be discussed with Kupperman include the security aspect of Rohingya, countering violent extremism, and information sharing.
Another official said: “We have robust counter-terrorism cooperation with Washington and we want to continue it.
“We can discuss how easily we can get information from the US about possible terrorist attacks and terrorists.”
“According to US laws, Rashed Chowdhury is a terrorist and he should not be given shelter on US soil, and we will strongly present the case before the US authorities,” added the official.
The similar issues will also be discussed with US Senator Murphy.
“We will seek his support on Rohingya issue and deportation of Rashed Chowdhury and explain to him what terrorist act he committed in 1975,” said an official.
Bangladesh will also seek continuation of political and humanitarian support it receives from Washington to tackle the Rohingya crisis.
They will also discuss other US-funded projects that are ongoing in Bangladesh, said an official.