Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said, adding that Rohingya problem was created by Myanmar and its solution also lies with them. File photo
Bangladesh on Tuesday said there are indications that the brand new US administration under President Joe Biden can look into the problem of genocide of Rohingyas in the Rakhine State and hopefully will proactively take action for their safe return to Myanmar.
"It's very good news. There will be indications," Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen explained, adding that Rohingya problem was made by Myanmar and its solution also lies with them.
He said Bangladesh is thankful of USA’s principled stand and steadfast humanitarian and diplomatic support to Bangladesh in dealing with the Rohingya crisis since August 2017.
"We also firmly believe it’s necessary to take an efficient and well-calibrated intervention for the international community to convince Myanmar to make a safe and conducive environment in the Rakhine State for the dignified return of just one 1.1 million Rohingyas with their homeland," Dr Momen explained.
The Foreign Minister was addressing as the principle guest at a webinar organised by Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) titled “Bangladesh-US Relations: Opportunities and Challenges”.
Prime Minister's Adviser Salman F Rahman, Professor Rehman Sohan, Ranok Jahan, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller, Bangladesh Ambassador to US Shahidul Haque, Farooq Sobhan and BEI President M Humayun Kabir also spoke at the webinar.
High expectation from Biden administration
The Foreign Minister said the brand new US Administration beneath the leadership of President Biden appears to be more supportive to the sources of the developing world, including areas like climate change, trade facilitation, COVID-19 response and migrants.
"Thus, our expectation from the Biden Administration is definitely reasonably higher and we believe, the US will again lead the world in obtaining core values and principles," he said.
With visionary policies undertaken by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Bangladesh is fully confident of further strengthening its ties with all development partners to facilitate economic and political cooperation and people-to-people ties, the US being one of the primary among them, Dr Momen said.
"I’m confident that regular bilateral visits and political level engagements between your two countries at the highest level will elevate Bangladesh-US partnership to an increased plane; and will also generate great dynamism and momentum in our growing relationship," he said.
Dr Momen said they actually want to lift the relations with the US to a more recent height in approaching days.
He said Bangladesh is focused on obtaining sustainable development goals by 2030 and also move forward to attain its national development agenda articulated in Vision 2021 and Vision 2041.
"We underscore the need to strengthen further bilateral and multilateral cooperation and collective actions to tackle the evolving dimensions of health and economic crisis in this COVID-19 pandemic along with during post-pandemic situation," he said.
Deportation of Bangabandhu’s killer
Dr Momen said the problem of deportation of Rashed Chowdhury, a good convicted fugitive killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, has remained pending at the US side for greater than a decade.
Bangladesh requested the US government to speed up the return of Rashed Chowdhury to Bangladesh to handle justice.
"In light of our shared spirit of establishing justice and rule of law, I believe the brand new US Administration should look into this matter seriously," Dr Momen said.
In fact, this may be a casino game changer in the Bangladesh-US partnership, he explained adding: "We likewise have an extradition treaty pending with the US side for years."
Bangladesh-US ties: Dhaka prepared to reap full benefits
Dr Momen said trade and investment could be among the strongest bonds of partnership between Bangladesh and the US.
The US is Bangladesh’s single major export destination country and the most significant investor.
Bangladesh is also becoming a crucial export market for the US.
"With a great upward trend of the two approach export and import, the full total trade volume with USA jumped to US$ 4.1 billion in 2009 2009 from US$1.5 billion in 1996, reflecting 59.4% increase in the full total trade volume," Dr Momen said.
Since then, the figure shows a growing trend of trade with USA with some $6.4 billion in 2014 to $9 billion in 2019.
However, Dr Momen explained despite of the Coronavirus pandemic, until mid-2020, trade figure with USA was $3,405.4 million.
In 2018-19 Bangladesh export to the united states was $6.8 billion incorporating major exportable items such as for example, woven apparel, knit apparel, miscellaneous textile goods, cap, headgear, footwear, tobacco, snack foods foods, furniture, ceramic, toys, plastic items, artificial blooms etc.
"Now we need to diversify our products portfolio away from single item. Pharmaceuticals, ICT, light engineering, ship construction, power and energy happen to be some of the fastest-growing regions of trade and investment in Bangladesh," said the Foreign Minister.
Dr Momen said they are also ready to commence FTA negotiations with the US, American consumers and Bangladesh exports.
The Foreign Minister said he is pretty hopeful that the steadily growing Bangladesh-US relation will achieve newer heights in coming days beneath the Biden Administration.
“There are so many avenues to be opened, and Bangladesh is keen to reap the entire potential,” he said.