Rab facing difficulties in conducting operations due to US sanctions: Momen to Nuland
Bangladesh has said Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) is facing difficulties in conducting its operations due to US-imposed sanctions and this might encourage radical elements in the country and make the law-and-order situation worse and create regional instability.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen expressed this concern as US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland met him at his office at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) yesterday.
He strongly urged the US government to reconsider the sanctions.
The foreign minister depicted the context of the creation of RAB to combat terrorism and serious crimes.
"At that time, the US trained them, and the organisation was being compared with the FBI," he said.
Till now, Bangladesh's success in curbing terrorism and transnational crimes are largely attributed to RAB, Momen added.
He underscored that whenever allegations of human rights violation were received against any law enforcer, due administrative or legal actions were taken.
Nuland expressed the US' willingness to engage with Bangladesh on human rights and labour issues to collectively bring improvements in some areas.
She also proposed that the US can help Bangladesh, like some other development partners, in further reexamining the Digital Security Act.
Momen expressed satisfaction about the successful holding of the Partnership Dialogue, which is the first one after a two-year pause due to the pandemic.
Referring to his upcoming bilateral meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on April 4 in Washington DC on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations, Momen said the two countries need to have closer relations for the next 50 years.
Nuland hoped that the upcoming meeting between the Bangladesh foreign minister and US secretary of state would be a fruitful one.
She elaborated on her government position on the Ukraine issue.
Momen said Bangladesh always wants peace and underscored that the conflict needs to be resolved through negotiations.
He said peace brings stability, which is important for Bangladesh as "we have a large number of expatriate workers abroad."
In this interdependent world, Momen said, war and conflict would cause a problem for all, including the US, the European Union and the Middle East.
He also recalled that the US is Bangladesh's largest trading partner with $9 billion bilateral trade.
Momen underscored that, the US being the largest investor cumulatively with 20 percent of the FDI flow since Bangladesh's independence, has mainly invested in the energy sector.
He said the US investors may consider enhancing and diversifying its investment portfolio in Bangladesh.
Also, the foreign minister depicted the "excellent investment environment in Bangladesh" and the establishment of special economic zones and high-tech parks.
He especially emphasised the possible US investment in the ICT and pharmaceutical sectors.
This might be a win-win situation if the US invests in ICT, Momen added.