John Kerry arrives on Aug 29
US Secretary of State John Kerry arrives here on a brief one-day visit on August 29 to discuss bilateral issues with his Bangladesh counterpart, reports the UNB.
However, there is no official announcement of the visit neither from Dhaka nor Washington.
The US Secretary of State will be here on the morning of August 29 by a special aircraft and leave for New Delhi later in the evening, a diplomatic source told UNB on Tuesday night.
There is a scheduled event in New Delhi on August 30 titled ‘US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue’ but it could not be confirmed whether Kerry will be attending the event or not.
A diplomatic source told that Bangladesh Ambassador in Washington Mohammad Ziauddin will leave for Dhaka on August 26 and arrive here on August 27.
“This’s a sudden development,” the diplomat said adding that a formal announcement regarding Kerry’s visit will be available on Monday.
It will be Kerry’s first visit to Bangladesh as former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Bangladesh during her tenure.
In Dhaka, he will hold a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on a whole range of issues, including security cooperation, and discuss ways to strengthen the relations between the two countries.
The US Secretary of State will also meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina during his brief stay in Dhaka.
He will also hold meeting with civil society representatives and media people during his stay in Dhaka.
The United States is already in discussion with Bangladesh about assistance package in countering terrorism and violent extremism taking Bangladesh’s need into consideration.
US Ambassador in Dhaka Marcia Bernicat held several meetings at the Foreign Ministry in the past weeks, including her meeting with Foreign Minister on Sunday, but did not indicate any such high-level visit.
Asked whether the US is pursuing any new agenda with Bangladesh, Bernicat earlier said there is ‘constant evolution’ more or less on the same agenda but new things may come like blue economy and opportunities that lie.
Bangladesh and the United States have three prescribed talks, and Security Dialogue is one of the things they are tracking which will be held here in October.
The security dialogue usually covers a broad range of topics, including strategic priorities and regional issues, security assistance, cyber-security, peacekeeping, military-to-military cooperation, and counter-terrorism.
Humanitarian assistance and disaster relief, maritime and other related issues are likely to be discussed in the security dialogue, too.
The 71st regular session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) that will begin at UN Headquarters on 13 September.
Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali had a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry last year in Washington.
When the Foreign Minister invited his counterpart to visit Bangladesh, John Kerry responded ‘very positively’ and said he would love to take the visit at the ‘earliest opportunity’.