US deputy assistant secretary Afreen due in Dhaka next week

US deputy assistant secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) Afreen Akhter

The US deputy assistant secretary for South Central Asia Afreen Akhter will visit Bangladesh next week to further advance the bilateral relations.

This will be the first visit of any senior US official since the 12th parliamentary election.

Diplomatic sources said Afreen is scheduled to arrive in Dhaka in a three-day visit on 24 February.

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The US official visited Bangladesh in last October which was the last visit of any senior US official before the election.

Diplomatic sources said Afreen will hold an official meeting with foreign ministry’s Director General (South America wing) Khandker Masudul Alam. She might also hold another meeting with foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen.

The US has disagreement with Awami League government over a free and fair election in Bangladesh. The US did not move away from its stance over the issue before and after the election. The US President Joe Biden wrote to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressing his administration’s ‘sincere desire’ to work together with Bangladesh at the beginning of this month.

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Diplomatic sources said a free and open Indo-Pacific region, climate change, economic development, Rohingya issue as well as current situation in Myanmar might be on the table during the visit.