Meeting with US official: Strengthening defence cooperation stressed

Bangladesh and US flagsProthom Alo illustration

Bangladesh has called for the withdrawal of US sanctions on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB). The issue was raised during a meeting with US National Security Council’s Senior Director for South Asia, Rear Admiral Eileen Laubacher.

The meeting also discussed the US concerns regarding controversial sections of Bangladesh’s Digital Security Act (DSA), security concerns centring the Rohingya camps and its political solutions. However, it is not known whether there were any discussions on the forthcoming 12th parliamentary elections in Bangladesh.

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen discussed these matters with Eileen Laubacher at the State Guest House Padma in Dhaka on Monday afternoon. The meeting was a part of continued discussion between Bangladesh and the US over the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS) and enhancing defence and security cooperation between the two countries.

A foreign ministry notification on Monday evening said the meeting discussed issues of bilateral interest and priorities, especially humanitarian assistance, Rohingya repatriation and rehabilitation, Indo-Pacific Strategy, development assistance, maritime security, strengthening law enforcement agencies, and cybersecurity.

Rear Admiral Eileen Laubacher, who is on a four-day visit to Bangladesh, lauded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for her courageous and firm decision to shelter over 1 million Rohingyas fleeing mass atrocities in Myanmar.

Masud Bin Momen and Eileen Laubacher discussed the need for international assistance to meet the daily requirements of this displaced population.

The foreign secretary thanked the US for support to different resolutions regarding the Rohingyas at the UN and and giving due recognition to the genocide of the Rohingya.

Before the meeting with foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen, Eileen Laubacher held a meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s defence adviser Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique.