US Assistant Secretary of State Michele Sison arrives in Dhaka

Her visit coincides with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s two-day trip to Bangladesh

Published : 6 August 2022, 04:46 PM
Updated : 6 August 2022, 04:46 PM

Michele J Sison, assistant secretary of state for international organisation affairs at the US Department of State, has arrived in Bangladesh on a three-day visit.

She reached Dhaka on Saturday afternoon from New Delhi, confirmed officials at the Bangladesh Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Embassy in Dhaka.

Her visit coincided with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s two-day trip to Bangladesh, which also began on Saturday.

US embassy officials said Dhaka is Michele’s second stop in her nine-day trip to India, Bangladesh and Kuwait. She will travel to the oil-rich Gulf nation after concluding the Dhaka trip.

According to a US State Department statement issued on Jul 29, Michele will consult with government officials in the respective countries about “a range of US multilateral priorities, including combating food insecurity, advancing global health, addressing human rights and humanitarian needs, peacekeeping and peacebuilding, and support for Rohingya refugees.”

In the meetings, she “will focus on opportunities to deepen cooperation at the UN and US support for the candidacy of Doreen Bogdan-Martin to become the next Secretary-General of the International Telecommunication Union.”

She is also scheduled to meet civil society leaders in Dhaka to exchange ideas on how the US can collaborate on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, according to the statement.

During a regular media MoFA briefing on Wednesday, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen confirmed that the US sanction on an elite police unit and some of its top officials will be one of the top agendas at the meeting.

On Dec 10 last year, the US Treasury Department imposed sanctions on the Rapid Action Battalion, or RAB, as well as seven of its current and former officers citing serious human rights violations.

“Yes, I hope to raise the issue. Since we know each other already, I hope to have a free and frank discussion about it,” he said during the briefing.

In March, another high-ranking US diplomat, Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland termed the issue of sanctions on some incumbent and former top Rapid Action Battalion officers a "complicated" one as she highlighted the country's concerns about human rights violations by the elite police unit.

At a joint press briefing during her Dhaka trip, she said: “We have concerns about how the RAB has performed, about extra-judicial killings, about disappearances."

Toufique Imrose Khalidi
Editor-in-Chief and Publisher