US official Lisa Curtis now in Cox’s Bazar to meet Rohingyas

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Desk report, Mar 3:  Deputy Assistant to US President Donald Trump Lisa Curtis arrived Dhaka on Friday morning on a three-day official visit to discuss the issues of bilateral interests, including security and Rohingya crisis.Curtis, senior director for South and Central Asia of the National Security Council in the White House, is already in Cox’s Bazar, an official told UNB.

She is likely to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Security Adviser to the Prime Minister Maj Gen (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique and Foreign Secretary Md Shahidul Haque during her visit, diplomatic sources said.

Curtis will see the Rohingya situation on the ground.

US Ambassador in Dhaka has said the US administration has been “very vocal and critical” about Myanmar over the Rohingya issue.

Bernicat said the US administration is very strongly behind Bangladesh and very complimentary for Bangladesh.

Turning to the Rohingya issue on Wednesday, Bernicat said this serious problem is not losing world attention as the international media are still giving focus and good coverage on the matter. “I don’t think international attention and support are going to fade regarding the Rohingya issue.”

She said her government and the international community are looking for ways to help improve the situation and ensure the safe return of Rohingyas to their homes in Myanmar.

“Their (Rohingyas) desire is consistent that they want to go to their homes and their homes are in Myanmar. The world is working now to ensure their safe return in a dignified manner.”

The US envoy also said Bangladesh and its all friends are working to mount pressure on Myanmar to resolve the problem and create a situation so that Rohingyas can go to their homes.

Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque visited Washington on February 16 and met Lisa Curtis and they discussed bilateral, regional and global security issues.

Curtis conveyed President Trump’s deep appreciation for Bangladesh for hosting more than a million forcibly displaced Rohingyas from Myanmar.

She was a senior research fellow on South Asia in The Heritage Foundation before joining the White House where she used to focus on US national security interests and regional geopolitics as senior research fellow on South Asia in The Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Centre.

The foreign secretary invited her to visit Bangladesh and Curtis accepted the invitation at that time.