Dhaka, July 10: The United States on Sunday offered Bangladesh for US expertise and technical supports in building Bangladesh’s counter-terrorism capabilities as the country experienced the worst-ever terrorist attack on July 1, targeting mainly foreign nationals.
Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal came up with the offer during her meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque at State guesthouse Padma on Sunday.
Secretary Haque briefed the media after their meetings with Biswal that focused on Bangladesh’s bilateral relations with the United States and the security situation.
“They proposed supports at various levels which will further be discussed. The discussion has just started,” he told reporters.
The Foreign Secretary said they focused on areas, include training, and finding out new strategies in countering terrorism.
Responding to a question, Haque said the government is positive in accepting supports from willing countries but the question what will be the modalities.
He said there had been discussion on technical support in the past, too and their expert teams are continuing to help Bangladesh. “We discussed how these efforts can be made deeper.”
The Foreign Secretary said the US side at the meeting reiterated their commitment to stay beside Bangladesh and its people. “We discussed how the current problem can be addressed.”
He said Biswal will hopefully meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and there will be more discussions till tomorrow.
US Ambassador to Bangladesh Marcia Bernicat and US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Manpreet Anand were also present.
The Assistant Secretary offered her condolences for the victims of the recent terrorist attacks. “We share the grief of our Bangladeshi partners,” said Assistant Secretary Biswal adding that their commitment to Bangladesh remains as robust as ever.
She said they will continue their assistance in combating the global threat of terrorism that two countries both confront.
Biswal arrived here on Sunday morning on a two-day visit to discuss security issues with Bangladesh after the deadliest terrorist attack on a Dhaka café.
She will meet the embassy community, local business, and other diplomatic representatives before leaving Dhaka on Monday.
Biswal will then travel to Colombo where she will meet senior government officials, political leaders, and civil society representatives to discuss bilateral economic cooperation as well as democratic governance and reconciliation.
She visited Dhaka on May 5 and 6 last after the brutal murder of USAID staff Xulhaz Mannan in Dhaka on April 25.
Meanwhile, 22 people, including nine Italians, seven Japanese, one Indian national and two policemen were killed inside and outside the café during the attack on July 1.
Later on the morning of on July 2, six people along with five attackers were also killed during a commando operation. Thirteen of the hostages were rescued alive in the operation.
On Friday afternoon, blood-soaked young man Shawon who was detained from outside the Holey Artisan Bakery during the hostage standoff died at a city hospital.