Blinken invites Momen to visit the United States to mark 50 years of bonding

| Update:
February 10, 2022 3:23:30 p.m.

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken has invited Bangladesh Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen to visit Washington DC to mark 50 years of bilateral relations between the two countries.

“This morning I was notified of the invitation,” Momen said on Wednesday, BSS reports.

He said the US State Department forwarded the invitation to the Bangladesh mission in Washington in a message while Blinken himself expressed his willingness for the in-person meeting in a phone call last December.

“At that time he (Blinken) said he would like to meet me in person in Washington DC in the spring of this year,” Momen said.

A Foreign Ministry official familiar with the development in Dhaka said the US State Department in a message also expressed Blinken’s willingness to meet his Bangladeshi counterpart on April 4 at his office in Washington DC, according to Momen’s convenience.

The then US administration recognized Bangladesh on April 4, 1972, when Dhaka became the newborn country’s free capital after a nine-month liberation war against Pakistan amid complicated global politics.

Foreign Ministry officials said the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington and the US State Department are planning a joint celebration at the Bangladesh Chancellery in the US capital on the day to mark the historic event, which is expected to also be joined by Blinken.

They said a series of events coincided with the anniversary, while US officials had earlier said Washington planned to further cement ties in many areas over the next 50 years.

The anniversary and invitation came amid a diplomatic and media uproar following a recent US sanction against some senior and former officials of the elite Rapid Action Against Crime Battalion (RAB) of Bangladesh for alleged “human rights violations”.

Momen reiterated on Wednesday that engagements were underway in bilateral diplomatic channels regarding the matter.

Foreign Ministry officials said an inter-ministerial coordination committee had been set up to monitor the human rights situation, while Momen himself had sent a letter to his counterpart explaining the RAB’s campaign against the militancy and terrorism.

“Letters have also been sent to 73 US senators and congressmen, who are members of various congressional committees regarding foreign relations matters on the RAB issue,” a State Department official said.

In an informal exchange of views earlier this week with diplomatic correspondents, US officials based at the US Embassy in Dhaka said Washington was seeking “strong” and “broad” cooperation, especially in different areas, including the area of ​​security, with Bangladesh looking ahead to the next 50 years.

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