Momen meets Blinken in Washington on 50 years of US-Bangladesh ties

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has met Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington on 50 years of US-Bangladesh diplomatic ties.

Published : 4 April 2022, 09:01 PM
Updated : 5 April 2022, 07:03 AM

The meeting lasted for 45 minutes from about 1:30 pm local time on Monday, foreign ministry officials said. 

Momen had earlier said he would raise the issue of US sanctions imposed on Bangladesh’s Rapid Action Battalion and its current and former officials on allegations of human rights violation in the meeting with Blinken.

Officials said Blinken discussed the work the US and Bangladesh are doing together bilaterally in the region and globally.

He praised Bangladesh for its leadership in rallying other countries to deal with the climate crisis.

Momen said Bangladesh wants to take the relations forward in the next 50 years and further ahead with cooperation in tackling climate change, human rights issues and other fields.

Awami League Joint General Secretary Mahbub-Ul Alam Hanif, the government’s Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, and Bangladesh Ambassador in the US M Shahidul Islam were also present.

As the countries celebrate a landmark moment in diplomatic ties, Blinken highlighted Washington's aim of further bolstering its partnership with Dhaka over the next 50 years.

"We are in fact celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations. And even as we think back on those 50 years, we’re really looking ahead to the start of the next 50 and the work that we can do together, as I said, to strengthen our partnership," Blinken said before the meeting.

"Bangladesh has been a leader in rallying other countries to deal with the climate crisis that the planet is facing. We deeply appreciate that, and we’re working closely together as well on COVID-19, and we’re proud to have been able to contribute through COVAX some 61 million vaccine doses to Bangladesh."

Blinken also commended Bangladesh for "showing extraordinary humanity" by sheltering 1 million Rohingya who have had to flee persecution in Myanmar.

"We’re grateful for that, and the work that you’ve done as one of the strongest supporters of UN peacekeeping around the world, and many other things as well.  But we’ll have an opportunity today to discuss the work we’re doing together bilaterally in the region and indeed even globally."

Momen extended Dhaka's gratitude to the US for committing 61 million vaccines -- the highest among all countries -- to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. He also lauded Washington for declaring that Myanmar's military committed genocide and crimes against humanity in its violence against the Rohingya minority.

"And I also thank you because you have declared the genocide in Myanmar, and we’re so happy you did. I hope there will be some repatriation of these persecuted people," Momen said.

Highlighting the socio-economic strides taken by Bangladesh over the last 50 years, he added, "We were known to be a bottomless basket, but now we have a vibrant economy, a land of opportunity. And the US has been a great partner and friend. The US is our biggest trading partner, and also [in terms of] accumulated investment in Bangladesh, the US's is the largest."

Noting that the US has huge investments in Bangladesh’s energy sector, he said, “Maybe it is time to look beyond that. And I am looking forward to a more enhanced and solid – rock-solid relationship with the United States of America.”