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2 March, 2018 00:00 00 AM
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Trump security aide Lisa Curtis arrives today

Rohingya, counterterrorism issues high on agenda
Diplomatic Correspondent

The ongoing Rohingya crisis and issues related to counterterrorism and violent extremism will dominate the talks between the Bangladesh side and senior director for South and Central Asia at the National Security Council in the White House Lisa Curtis, who will arrive in the capital today on a three-day visit to the country including a trip to Cox’s Bazar.

Besides, diplomatic sources said that other relevant matters of mutual interests will be discussed.

“This is the first high-level visit from Washington since the new administration, led by Donald Trump, assumed office on January 20, 2017. So, naturally, the visit is important with particular reference to the Rohingya crisis and US’s influence worldwide,” a senior foreign ministry official told The Independent yesterday.

Curtis was scheduled to visit Dhaka in July, last year, but it was postponed due to ‘bad weather’, that affected her flight schedule. The National Security Council is one of the main wings that advises the US president on foreign policy, intelligence activities and national security.

According to US Ambassador to Dhaka Marcia Bernicat and officials of the foreign ministry, the primary objective of the visit is to equip her with a better understanding about the scale and gravity of the Rohingya crisis.

“A day and a half of her three-day visit will be spent on visiting the Rohingya settlements in Cox’s Bazar,” said the foreign ministry official.

US ambassador Bernicat said on Wednesday that Curtis will visit Cox’s Bazar to have firsthand information about the crisis to report to the president.

She also said that US hierarchies is and will remain vocal against the Myanmar government and that the Rohingya issue will not fade away from the international attention.

“Yes, we do agree that US is vocal against the Myanmar government on the Rohingya issue. But, we want them to do more because we believe given the worldwide influence US has, it can do more to force Myanmar to take its people back,” said the officials, adding that Dhaka is likely to request Washington to take further measures including additional tougher sanctions.

About the counterterrorism cooperation, Bernicat said that Bangladesh is the first country that has started receiving $20 million worth counterterrorism partnership fund to be used in capacity building in different sectors including community policing training, police training and cyber security.

The ‘active participation’ of Bangladesh in the Indo-Pacific Strategy planned by US President Trump will also feature in the talks between Curtis and the Bangladesh side, said the officials.

The visit will also provide Bangladesh with a better idea as to what the Trump administration is thinking about the Dhaka-Washington relationship, they said.

On the day of her arrival, the officials said that Curtis will travel to Cox’s Bazar to visit the Rohingya settlements and will interact with the persecuted people as well as people working on the ground. She will spend the Friday night in the coastal town

On Saturday, she will attend a dinner hosted by her counterpart Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque. Both of them will hold talks during that time. Curtis will hold a meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on Sunday and will also meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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