Washington DC, 12 April 2023 (TDI): Secretary of the United States (US) Antony Blinken recently met with the Minister of Bangladesh for Foreign Affairs, A.K. Abdul Momen to discuss the Rohingya refugee crisis, economic growth, human rights, and freedom of expression in Bangladesh.
During the meeting, Secretary Blinken expressed his gratitude to Bangladesh for hosting Rohingya refugees and reaffirmed the US commitment to providing humanitarian assistance to those affected by the crisis.
Also, Antony Blinken highlighted the $2.1 billion in US humanitarian assistance since 2017, including $23.8 million in new assistance to the World Food Programme to deliver urgent food and nutrition services to Rohingya refugees.
Apart from that, Secretary Blinken also emphasized the US commitment to promoting inclusive economic growth, free and fair elections, human and labor rights, and freedom of expression in Bangladesh.
He expressed concerns about the violence and intimidation faced by the media and civil society, including under the Digital Security Act.
Furthermore, the US Secretary underscored that free and fair elections and respect for human rights in Bangladesh are critical as the US seeks to deepen its bilateral relationship with the country.
Thus, the US remains committed to working with Bangladesh to address these issues and to advance shared goals of regional peace and stability.
In a statement after the meeting, Secretary Blinken said, “The US values its partnership with Bangladesh and we appreciate the country’s generosity in hosting Rohingya refugees.
“We remain committed to supporting Bangladesh’s efforts to promote economic growth, human rights, and democratic values.”
Notably, the US Secretary’s meeting with Bangladeshi Minister Momen comes at a critical time as Bangladesh prepares for national elections in 2024.
In a nutshell, the US ensured to continue to engage with Bangladesh on issues of mutual interest and to promote democracy, human rights, and inclusive economic growth in the region.