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Dhaka Tribune

Dhaka conveys coolness towards security cooperation with Washington

Bangladesh more interested in development and improving standard of living for citizens, says foreign minister 

Update : 02 Mar 2021, 12:20 AM

Bangladesh has conveyed to the US that it is giving much focus on infrastructure development for the overall economic growth of the country and showed no interest in the security aspects of the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS).

“We’re now busy with our development [plans]. Our main target is infrastructure development and giving a better life to our people,” Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen told reporters at his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, conveying the message given to Washington.

He, mentioning that an official from the White House had approached him regarding the security of the Bay of Bengal region, said: “We said we don’t think of it. We’re pretty secure. Rather, we’re interested in economic development and infrastructure development.”

The foreign minister said the White House official talked about having a stronger program on the security of the Indo-Pacific region.

Dr Momen said they first have to provide food, shelter, clothing, and housing to people of the country as Bangladesh wants to give its people a decent living. “All countries are our friends. We’re more concerned about providing food security and better living conditions.”

The foreign minister addressed the US Chamber of Commerce and met Special Presidential Envoy for Climate John Kerry, the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, and three US lawmakers namely Senator Edward J. Markey (Democratic, Massachusetts), Congressman Michael T. McCaul (Republican-Austin), and Congressman Jim McGovern (Democratic, Massachusetts' 2nd Congressional District) during his official visit to the US.

The visit was part of the plan to reach out to the new US administration to further enhance the bilateral relations and to convey Bangladesh’s willingness to work closely with them.

Foreign Minister Dr Momen and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had a telephone conversation during the visit and expressed their willingness to further deepen Bangladesh-US relations by advancing common goals and mutual interests.

The foreign minister and the secretary of state agreed to work together to further strengthen bilateral relations and enhance cooperation on global issues. 

At the beginning of the discussion, the US secretary of state expressed his regret that he could not physically meet Foreign Minister Dr Momen due to the Covid-19 health restrictions and termed Bangladesh-US relations as a “growing and deep” one.

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