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US State Dept official Afreen Akhter likely to arrive on Sunday

Published : Wednesday, 21 February, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 282

US State Department official Afreen Akhter is likely to arrive in Dhaka on Sunday for a three-day visit for supporting Bangladeshs ambitious economic goals and partnering with Bangladesh.

This will be the first visit by any US official after Bangladeshs January 7 general election. Afreen Akhter is the deputy assistant secretary at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs.

Earlier, President Joe Biden wrote to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina expressing his willingness to work together to achieve Bangladeshs economic goals.

President Biden said in his letter: "The United States is committed to supporting Bangladeshs ambitious economic goals and partnering with Bangladesh on our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific."

She will meet with her counterpart, the director general of the Foreign Ministrys America wing, during the three-day visit, among others.

However, the US did not find the election free and fair and said would continue to engage with Bangladesh to advance common interests.

As the two countries embark on the next chapter of the US-Bangladesh partnership, the US president said he wanted to convey the sincere desire of his administration to continue their work together on regional and global security, economic development, climate change and energy, global health, humanitarian support, especially for Rohingya refugees, and more.

Afreen visited Bangladesh before the national election.

She is likely to meet senior officials at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At a media briefing on February 14, she said, "We have a tremendous amount of work ongoing for developing free media in Bangladesh, working with civil society, working with labor organizers across the spectrum to build up these institutions of democracy that will enable Bangladesh to become more democratic over the longer term."

Afreen visited Dhaka and Coxs Bazar in October 16-17 last year and met with senior government officials, civil society members, Rohingya refugees, and representatives from humanitarian organizations.

She spent a day in Coxs Bazar, meeting with Rohingya refugees, Bangladesh government officials, and humanitarian organizations.

In addition, the delegation focused on learning about the lives of the refugees as well as the condition in the camps.

Recently, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs, Donald Lu, has said the current situation in Myanmar does not seem to be getting better and he sees deeper security problems for Bangladesh and beyond.

"The situation there doesn appear to be getting better. What worries me is that the refugee crisis, the security problems for Bangladesh, and potentially for India as well could get deeper in the coming days," he said.

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