Bangladesh welcomes Biden letter on support for economic goals

Biden said the US is willing to work with Bangladesh to help the South Asian nation achieve its economic goals, nearly a month after the national elections

Reuters
Published : 6 Feb 2024, 06:05 AM
Updated : 6 Feb 2024, 06:05 AM

President Joe Biden said the US is willing to work with Bangladesh to help the South Asian nation achieve its economic goals, nearly a month after Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was sworn in following an election boycotted by the opposition.

Biden made his comments in a letter to Hasina, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud told reporters on Monday, adding through this letter ties between the two countries will advance further.

Hasina and her party won a fourth straight term in the Jan 7 election, which the main opposition dismissed as a sham.

Biden's government has been critical of Bangladesh's democracy and human rights records, with the US State Department saying the poll was not free or fair.

"We welcome the letter written by President Biden. Through this letter our relationship will improve further and reach new heights," Mahmud said.

"The United States is committed to supporting Bangladesh's ambitious economic goals and partnering with Bangladesh on our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific," Biden said in his letter, provided to reporters.

The US embassy in Dhaka didn't immediately respond to Reuters' request for comments.

The United States, the biggest buyer of Bangladeshi clothes, in May adopted a policy allowing it to restrict visas for Bangladeshis "believed to be responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process" in the country.

The Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), whose leaders are either in jail or in exile, stayed away from the polls after Hasina refused its demand that she resign and let a neutral authority run the general election.

Hasina has been credited with turning around the economy before the Russia-Ukraine war led to a sharp increase in prices of fuel and food imports, though critics have also accused her of human rights violations and suppressing dissent.