Friday, 14 June, 2024
Friday, 14 June, 2024

US Asst Secy Donald Lu in Dhaka

Diplomatic Correspondent, dhakadiplomat.com
  14 May 2024, 17:02
Foreign Ministry Director General Khandker Masudul Alam welcomes Donald Lu at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka. Photo: Collected

US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu arrived in Dhaka this morning on a two-day visit to strengthen bilateral cooperation and demonstrate US support for a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.
During the third leg of his visit to South Asia after India and Sri Lanka, Lu will meet Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud, Prime Minister's Private Industry and Investment Affairs Adviser Salman F Rahman, Forest and Environment Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, and civil society leaders.
According to a statement from the US State Department, Lu will discuss US-Bangladesh cooperation, including addressing the climate crisis and deepening economic ties.


This is the highest-level US official to visit Dhaka after the January 7 national election that Washington termed not free and fair. He last visited Bangladesh in January last year.

Speaking to reporters at the foreign ministry yesterday, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud said that issues related to visa policy and Dhaka's call for the withdrawal of sanctions on Rab may come up for discussion during Lu's visit.

He said Bangladesh maintains excellent relations with the United States, and the two countries will work together to take the relations further.

The US had been very vocal about free and fair elections ahead of the parliamentary polls in Bangladesh earlier this year. It also announced a visa policy last year, nearly two years after imposing a sanction against Rab and some of its officials.

Though Washington termed the January 7 polls not free and fair, it promised to work with Bangladesh in the areas of economic development, promoting democracy, human rights, climate change, Rohingya, and security.

According to Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, the scope and thrust of Donald Lu's visit are likely to differ greatly from before the general election in Bangladesh.

He said all issues relating to mutual relations -- political, economic, and even security will be discussed.

"We have many mechanisms, platforms, and dialogues with them [US]. It will be looked into how all these can be reactivated and what are the mechanisms we can take forward," said the foreign secretary in Dhaka last week.

In recent months, the US has been emphasising the importance of labour rights and promoting civil society groups.

Diplomatic sources said the Rohingya crisis, the conflict in Myanmar, and economic and security cooperation will be some of the important issued that will be discussed during Donald Lu's visit.

Lu may reiterate the call for signing the US Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement (ACSA) on logistics and the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) to advance enduring security and defence relationships.

Washington wants Bangladesh to be a net security provider in the region, a US official recently told media in Dhaka.

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