Dhaka-Washington ties to reach new height under new administration: FM

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday hoped that the relations between Bangladesh and the United States would reach a new height under President Joe Biden.

“Recently, a new administration has taken over in the US and I hope that under the new administration, our relationship with the USA will reach a new height,” he said at the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh (AmCham) Frontline Journalism Award presentation ceremony where he attended as chief guest.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl Miller and AmCham President Syed Ershad Ahmed, among others, spoke.

Dr Momen said the AmCham is a prominent trade body to promote economic cooperation between the US and Bangladesh.

He said AmCham can play substantial role for boosting export of Bangladesh to USA and attract Foreign Direct Investment and incubation of technology.

“I must reiterate that the developmental vision of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and the welfare view of the new administration in the US closely match lockstep,” said the Foreign Minister adding that they have already got few indications.

The new Administration rejoined the Paris Agreement and currently thinking of exploring whether genocide took place in Myanmar.

Joe Biden is sworn in as the 46th president of the United States by Chief Justice John Roberts as Jill Biden holds the Bible during the 59th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021. Photo: AP

“We welcome the new administration and thank them for their initiatives,” he said.

During the last 12 years, Bangladesh achieved tremendous success in its efforts to develop its economy and to provide improved living standard to its people, said the Foreign Minister.

“In all social indicators, its achievement is significant. While it increased its GDP growth rate nearly 7% during the decade, it also reduced its poverty by more than half,” he said.

“In addition, our life span has increased to nearly 74 years, we increased our electricity to reach every household, and achieve self-sufficiency in food production.”

Dr Momen said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has taken a vow to provide accommodation and houses to all homeless people of the country. He noted that the government plans to provide nearly 900,000 houses to the homeless in this Mujib Barsho.

Bangladesh needs new narrative

He said the government has taken many notable decisions and achieved many successes and hoped that friends from the media and press will explore those remarkable works of the government and create a narrative so that they all could be proud of.

“We’re no longer a bottomless basket but a land of opportunity, a vibrant economy,” he said.

But unfortunately, Dr Momen said, till today if any one opens up Google search he or she would be surprised to notice new narrative has not reached the global audience.

“The common perception is – it’s a land prone to natural disasters, Bangladesh migrants are drowning in the sea or caught red handed by coastal guards in a foreign country. Although there’s political stability, the international media selectively reports political crisis and human rights violations, rapes, etc,” he said.

As per Odikar, in 2019 and 2020 only 18 and 17 were killed extra judicially in Bangladesh. But the US saw 996 and 1,004 deaths in the last two years respectively at the hands of police without due process of law, Dr Momen said.

There were around 9,000 rapes in Bangladesh last year compared to 84,767 in USA according to a report title “Rape Statistics by country 2020” published by world population

“But if you do a Google search, Bangladesh gets the headlines. Although Bangladesh in now using mechanisation, our narrative shows poor farmers carrying plows, directing the bulls, practicing primitive agriculture. While there are 4 million women working in green factories, our narrative generally depicts poor women with children involved in brick-breaking in unhealthy environment,” the foreign minister said.

Source: United News of Bangladesh