Hillary's visit a boost in US-Bangladesh relation: PM Sheikh Hasina

| A Statement Issued by the ruling Awami League

( May 06, 2012, Dhaka, Sri Lanka Guardian) The Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Ms. Sheikh Hasina yesterday thanked US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to visit Bangladesh expressing her firm hope that the visit would be a great boost in the existing bilateral relations between the two countries. In a courtesy call on Hillary Clinton at her office here yesterday evening, the Prime Minister urged her to take steps for repatriation of Rasehd Chowdhury, one of the convicted killers of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. Also the matters relating to mutual interests and investment came in discussion.

The Prime Minister said duty-and-quota-free access of Bangladeshi garments to US market would transform lives of women of Bangladesh, ending women trafficking and exploitation, and ensuring their welfare.

Hillary commended the present government's stride to strengthen regional cooperation and connectivity as well as establish good ties with neighbouring Myanmar and said all this steps would contribute to regional peace and progress. Hillary appreciated the partnership agreement between Bangladesh and USA and observed that it would take the relation between the two countries to a new height. She also clarified Bangladesh's position on singing of the TIFCA with USA saying it may be concluded with acceptance of 'gradually realization' of labour rights due to present constraints.

Terming the US as a time tested development partner, the Prime Minister thanked Obama administration for including Bangladesh as one of the eight countries in his GHI plus on health, food, climate change. Expressing her government's firm commitment to secularism, social justice and democracy the Prime Minister said "our belief in the rule of law and human rights has led us to try war criminals of 1971 to render justice". "Our government is working for welfare and prosperity of the people," she said adding that anti-terrorism act was amended to strengthen its legal and operational aspects of the drive against terrorism. She said apart from strengthening connectivity with neighbours, steps were taken for cooperation in power and energy sector, seeking US assistance in these areas.

Inviting more US investment to Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina said Bangladesh needs US$ 12 billion in the next five years to meet energy demand, which can be a big sector for investment.

PM's advisor on Foreign Affairs Professor Gowher Rizvi, Ambassador at- Large M Ziauddin, Bangladesh Ambassador to USA Akramul Qader, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Sheikh M Wahid Uz Zaman and Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad were present.

On US side, Assistant Secretary of State for South Asia Robert Blake and US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena were present.