The new US ambassador in Dhaka is appalled at the way people are being killed in political violence in Bangladesh during the ongoing blockades.
“It’s absolutely painful,” Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat bemoaned on Monday while meeting the State Minister for foreign affairs Md Shahriar Alam at the foreign ministry, sources privy to the meeting told bdnews24.com.
Bernicat landed in Dhaka on Jan 25 amid a turbulent political situation.
The US deplored bus bombings, train derailments in a statement and said there is “simply no justification” for such actions in a democratic Bangladesh.
At least 60 people have been killed in the violence so far, most burnt to death in fire-bombings.
Bernicat said after Monday’s meeting: “This (current violence) is not the way”.
She said political demonstrations can be organised in a restrained manner to highlight a grievance.
BNP and its allies are enforcing a countrywide transport blockade to force the government hold a snap poll.
The party did not join the 10th parliamentary elections last year on Jan 5, citing no confidence in a poll under the Hasina government.
The US also found that elections “not credible” and Bernicat during her Congressional hearing to confirm her assignment termed the polling “undeniably flawed”.
But after presenting credentials she said she looked forward to work with “everyone in the government” and that she was directly mandated to make the US-Bangladesh relation even stronger.
During her meeting with state minister Alam, she also reiterated that the relations would be stronger in the future.
She said she was amazed at Bangladesh’s socio-economic development.
Alam congratulated her for coming to Bangladesh.
He also recalled the “friendly role” of her predecessor Dan Mozena in strengthening bilateral relations.
He referred to the partnership dialogue, security dialogue, defence dialogue, and Ticfa Council meeting between the countries and said the relations were based on “a solid structural framework” of regular annual dialogues and consultations.
Alam also raised the issue of repatriating Rashed Chowdhury, a self-confessed killer of the Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and Ashrafuzzaman Khan, a convicted for crimes against humanity during 1971 War of Independence.
He also reiterated Bangladesh’s request to conclude the bilateral extradition treaty with the US.
Alam said the US was one of the largest contributors to FDI in Bangladesh, representing almost 13 percent of Bangladesh’s FDI inflow over the past five years.
He said the US investment, so far, is primarily concentrated in important sectors such as energy and power.
“Bangladesh would welcome US participation in manufacturing, infrastructure, service sectors and high-end technologies”.
He also appreciated the US government’s interest to work with Bangladesh in strengthening the Coast Guard, formulating a National Counter Terrorism Strategy, capacity-building of peacekeeping forces.