May 25, 2024, 3:24 pm

Diplomatic correspondent

2024-05-15 09:48:36 BdST

'We want to rebuild the trust,' Salman quoted Lu as saying

PM's Private Industry and Investment Adviser Salman Fazlur Rahman on Tuesday said the United States expressed willingness to expand the existing relations with Bangladesh on key fronts.

"We want to rebuild the trust," Salman quoted US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu as saying during their discussion over dinner at his residence.

"That's the most important thing. We also reciprocated saying that we also want that," the adviser added.

The two sides did not raise the "kind of misunderstanding" that apparently happened before the national election.

He said the US side wanted to know about Bangladesh's plans to improve the foreign currency reserve situation and make payments to the US companies who are doing business with Bangladesh smoothly.

In reply, Salman told the US delegation that he is hopeful of increased remittance flow and export earnings with the measures taken recently. "So, our reserve position will get better."

"Not that we have stopped making payment but it's getting delayed in some cases. We are continuously making payments," Salman said.

He was briefing the reporters on Tuesday night after an informal discussion over dinner with the US delegation.

He hosted the dinner in honour of visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu and his delegation.

State Minister for Information and Broadcasting Mohammad Ali Arafat said there was no discussion on BNP, opposition, democracy, human rights, politics and elections.

"It was an informal and casual discussion," he told reporters.

Responding to a question, Salman said there was no discussion on China as Bangladesh maintains friendship to all.

He said the US briefly talked about free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, in line with what they always say.

Responding to a question, he said the US is funding a hydropower project in Nepal.

Law Minister Anisul Huq, State Minister for Commerce Ahsanul Islam, former State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Distinguished Fellow & Board Member of Bangladesh Enterprise Institute Farooq Sobhan and prominent economist Dr Qazi Kholiquzzaman Ahmad joined the dinner from Bangladesh side.

Chief of Staff, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Nate Haft, Sarah Aldrich, SBM Political Unit Chief and US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter D. Haas, Arturo Hine (Political Counsellor) and Matthew Beh (Political Officer) at the US Embassy, Dhaka also attended.

Lu arrived here on Tuesday morning to "strengthen bilateral cooperation" and to demonstrate US support for a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

He is here to talk about deepening Bangladesh-US cooperation, including deepening the economic ties in ways that the two countries can collaborate further to address climate issues, said Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the US Department of State Vedant Patel.

Lu is here as part of his tri-nation tour of the region. He earlier visited India and Sri Lanka.

This is also his first visit to Bangladesh after Awami League won the January 7 elections to form the government for the third straight term.

Lu will have a bilateral meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and a courtesy meeting with Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud on Wednesday.

He will also meet Environment, Forest and Climate Change Minister Saber Hossain Chowdhury on Wednesday.

He was received at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport by Khandker Masudul Alam, director general (North America) at Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

US Ambassador in Dhaka Peter Haas was also present.

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