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Dhaka Tribune

Foreign Minister: Had fruitful discussions with Peter Haas

  • Bangladesh and US will work towards deepening ties
  • The US envoy wants to expand trade and increase direct investment
Update : 17 Jan 2024, 09:30 PM

Foreign Minister Dr Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday said that there has been a fruitful discussion about working closely with the United States.

He said this to reporters after a meeting with US Ambassador Peter Haas and European Union Head of Delegation Charles Whiteley at the ministry on Wednesday.

There had been lot of speculations about the US sanctions after the general elections. But in Wednesday’s meeting Peter Haas was seen in a good mood.

In response to the question how much that uneasiness has subsided, the foreign minister said: "We have had fruitful discussions about closely working with the US government to further our relationship.

"I had fruitful discussions with both ambassadors. The United States has been a major development partner of Bangladesh since independence. They are also a major partner in trade. I thanked the ambassador for the US support over the past 52 years. We both agreed to make our relationship closer," he said.

The foreign minister said the two nations will work towards that goal.

The US ambassador also discussed working with the new government to further expand trade and increase direct investment, he said.

Replying to a question, Hasan Mahmud said: “We have cooperation with the US on various issues. We have long worked together on counter-terrorism, countering extremism. We agreed to work more closely together."

In the last election, many people came from the United States to observe it. Bangladesh had a good election with about 42% voter turnout. On the election day, there was a lot of fog in the morning amid shivering cold otherwise the vote would have been 10% more, he said.

"We have discussed that. We have agreed to work together in all areas, including combating terrorism and countering extremism, with the aim of making the relations between the two countries closer."

Regarding the discussion on the Rohingya issue, he said: “I have spoken to the US ambassador on the Rohingya issue. We have always sought their help in repatriating the Rohingyas. I reiterated that today. They are helping us. We will work together for this purpose.”

He said he also discussed this with the EU ambassador.

“The Rohingya issue attracted everyone's attention in the beginning, but the world's attention has been diverted due to the Russia-Ukraine war and the inhumane attacks on Gaza. That is why I discussed with him that the Rohingya issue is a problem for us. Bangladesh is densely populated and 1.5 million Rohingyas are an additional problem for us. That is why we have discussed sending them to Myanmar with citizenship rights,” Hasan Mahmud said.

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