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US urged to lift sanctions against RAB

FE REPORT | October 09, 2022 00:00:00

Bangladesh has urged the United States government to lift sanctions against the elite crime-busting force Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), foreign ministry officials said on Saturday.

The visiting state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam made the request to his US counterpart deputy secretary Wendy R Sherman at the State Department in Washington on Friday.

Referring to American sanctions against RAB and its top brass, he urged the US government to withdraw the sanctions as soon as possible.

The state minister also sought US support at the WTO on LDC-related matters so that countries like Bangladesh could attain a smooth and sustainable LDC graduation.

At the meeting, both dignitaries discussed a range of bilateral matters and global issues of common interest, according to the officials.

Mr Alam thanked Washington for extending its tremendous support to Dhaka by delivering nearly 88-million doses of Covid-19 vaccine to fight the pandemic.

He also appreciated the US humanitarian support for the Rohingya in Bangladesh and the US efforts for safe repatriation of the refugees to Myanmar.

Mr Alam expressed Dhaka's willingness to work more closely with Washington on the issues of climate change and migration.

In this regard, he drew the US attention to an action-oriented discussion on the issue of loss and damage in the upcoming COP27.

Ms Sherman, at the outset of her discussion, expressed deep condolences for the loss of three Bangladeshi peacekeepers in the Central African Republic recently.

In this regard, she lauded the contribution of Bangladeshi peacekeepers to keeping the peace globally.

The deputy secretary was also appreciative of Dhaka's high Covid-19 vaccination rate and measures undertaken by the government to fight and contain the pandemic.

She appreciated Bangladesh's leadership role in climate change and encouraged the country to join the Global Methane Pledge prior to COP27.

Ms Sherman also reiterated her government's collaboration with Dhaka in its fight against terrorism and violent extremism, according to the officials.

Noting the progress made in the labour sector in Bangladesh, she put stress on strengthening cooperation between the two countries to increase bilateral trade.

The war in Ukraine, the issue of food and energy security, and the next parliamentary election in Bangladesh were also discussed at the meeting.

Mr Alam also urged Washington for faster deportation of Bangabandhu's killer Rashed Chowdhury, mentioning that the issue was of utmost importance to the people of Bangladesh and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself.

He also emphasised the conclusion of an extradition treaty between Dhaka and Washington as early as possible.

Later in the day, Rear Admiral Eileen Laubacher, special assistant to Joe Biden and incoming senior director for South Asia at the White House National Security Council, paid a courtesy call on Mr Alam at the Bangladesh embassy in Washington DC.

Multiple issues, including Bangladesh-US cooperation on counter-terrorism, RAB sanctions, Rohingya repatriation, Ukraine war and the return of killer Rashed, were discussed at that meeting.

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