US wants to look forward, instead of the past: Donald Lu

Donald Lu speaks to the media at the foreign ministry on 15 May, 2024.Collected

There were tensions between Dhaka and Washington centering on the national polls in Bangladesh.

However, the United States now wants to set those aside and look ahead, rather than dwell on the past.

Donald Lu, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, made the statement during a press briefing at the foreign ministry on Wednesday, following a meeting with Foreign Minister Hasan Mahumd.

He briefed the newsmen on his efforts to rebuild trust between the two nations during the first two days of his Bangladesh trip. He noted that they had made sufficient efforts for a free, fair, and peaceful election in Bangladesh, which had led to tensions between the two sides.

The US diplomat described these tensions as a normal phenomenon in the bilateral relationship and said they want to look ahead, instead of dwelling on the past, and explore potential avenues to strengthen the relationship.

Regarding his meeting with the foreign minister, Donald Lu said there are different aspects of the relationship between the two countries, including the sanction on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), human rights, labour rights, and the improvement of the business environment.

He expressed his country’s interest in moving forward based on positive cooperation on complex issues.

The US had urged Bangladesh to take effective measures to hold the 12th national polls in a free and fair manner. It had also announced a visa policy, restricting people who would undermine the democratic election process in Bangladesh.

However, the parliamentary polls took place on time, without the participation of opposition parties, including the BNP. In post-election observations, a number of countries, including the US and the UK, commented that the elections were not free and fair.