Momen, Blinken hold talks in Washington as Bangladesh demands lifting sanctions
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen held a meeting with his US counterpart Antony J Blinken at the US Department of State yesterday (April 4, 2022) marking 50 years of diplomatic ties bewteen US and Bangladesh.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken at the time lauded Bangladesh for its leadership in addressing the climate crisis and expressed gratitude for showing extraordinary generosity in sheltering over 1 million Rohingyas.
In the meeting that began at 1:30 pm (Washington time and 11:30 pm Dhaka time) and continued for about an hour, he said the US would strengthen its relationship with Bangladesh.
In the welcoming remarks, Blinken also appreciated Bangladesh's achievements in combating the Covid-19 pandemic, noting that the US was proud to provide 61 million vaccines.
Bangladesh sought wider and diversified cooperation from the US and again demanded the withdrawal of sanctions imposed on its elite force Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and some officials at the meeting, reports UNB.
"We'll raise it (sanctions)," Momen said ahead of the meeting, reiterating that "they (RAB members) are very efficient and effective, by-and-large free from corruption, and there should be a positive response from the US side," added the report.
In his welcoming remarks, Foreign Minister Momen said the US and Bangladesh have a rock-solid relationship, which will continue to grow in the next 50 years.
He thanked Blinken for 61 million Covid-19 vaccines, which is the highest amount among all countries to which the US provided vaccines to.
Momen also thanked the US for recognising violence against the Rohingya as genocide.
He also thanked the US for remaining beside Bangladesh both at good and bad times in the last 50 years and for becoming part of Bangladesh's development.
Foreign Minister Momen said Bangladesh achieved many things in the last 50 years – becoming a vibrant economy.
He noted that the US is Bangladesh's biggest trading partner and biggest investor, but most of the investments are in energy.
He requested Blinken to diversify the investments in the areas of IT, pharmaceuticals etc.
On a personal note, Momen said when he was jobless and homeless, the US gave him a job and a home.
Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Secretary (West) of the foreign ministry Shabbir Ahmad Chowdhury, Bangladesh Ambassador to the US Shahidul Islam were among others who were at the meeting.