The visiting Deputy Assistant to the U.S. President and Senior Director for South and Central Asia at the National Security Council Ms. Lisa Curtis met the Hon’ble Foreign Minister Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP, at the latter’s office this morning (04 March 2018).
Ms. Curtis also had a meeting with the Foreign Secretary Mr. Md. Shahidul Haque last evening (03 March 2018). Ongoing Rohingya issue featured prominently in the meetings. She shared her experience of visiting Cox’s Bazar and getting the victims’ account of atrocities committed in the Rakhine State. She mentioned that the Rohingyas wanted to go back to their homes in Myanmar, if the conditions are safe. Ms. Curtis assured the Rohingyas that “they won’t be forgotten”. She deeply appreciated Bangladesh’s role in sheltering the persecuted Rohingyas and providing necessary support to them. She said that Bangladesh could be a model in the world on how to deal with such humanitarian situations. Ms. Curtis also mentioned that USA will “remain with and stand by Bangladesh” in resolving the crisis and offered further U.S. assistance to deal with the upcoming challenges, especially when the monsoon is approaching soon.
The Foreign Minister said that the relationship between Bangladesh and USA is getting stronger and expressed Bangladesh Government’s gratitude to the U.S. Government, President Trump and its people for strong political and humanitarian support towards Bangladesh in addressing the crisis. In this regard, he urged the U.S. side to continue playing a strong role at the United Nations Security Council. The Foreign Minister also emphasized the sustained pressure by the international community including the U.S. on the Myanmar Government to create a safe and secured condition in Northern Rakhine for the safe and sustainable repatriation of Rohingyas to their homes. Deputy Assistant Ms. Curtis assured that Rohingya issue is now a part of the U.S. policy discussion and it will continue the pressure on Myanmar Government for their safe and dignified return. Praising the role played by Bangladesh Military in humanitarian response to the Rohingyas, Ms. Curtis expressed deep condolences for the death of 04 Bangladeshi UN Peacekeepers in an explosion in Mali last week.
Focusing on President Trump’s National Security Strategy, Ms. Curtis highlighted the Indo-Pacific Strategy of the U.S. Administration and expressed U.S.’s eagerness to further deepen its engagement with Bangladesh, as the country is a vibrant democracy with an impressive economic growth.
On the return of the killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujbur Rahman, Ms. Curtis informed that she would convey the message to the concerned high dignitaries in Washington.
On a query from Ms. Curtis, Foreign Minister mentioned that Bangladesh government is committed to a free, fair and participatory election. She emphasized multiple party participation in the general election. Hon’ble Foreign Minister agreed with her and informed that the election will be free, fair and participatory, and observers from different countries including U.S. are welcome as well to observe the election.
Ms. Lisa Curtis also called on the Advisor for Security Affairs to Hon’ble Prime Minister Major Gen. (rtd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique today and discussed the prospect of strengthening bilateral cooperation in the areas of defence and security. Deputy Assistant Ms. Lisa Curtis also called the Advisor for International Affairs to Hon’ble Prime Minister Professor Dr. Gowher Rizvi in the afternoon. She left Dhaka this evening.
Dhaka, 04 March 2018