US Deputy Secretary of State Biegun Due on Wednesday

US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun will arrive in Dhaka on Wednesday on a three-day visit to reaffirm US-Bangladesh cooperation on the COVID-19 response as well as to advance the common vision of the two countries regarding the Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS).

Beigun will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday noon after holding a meeting with Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen at the State Guest House Padma in the morning, a senior official of foreign ministry told today.

The US deputy secretary of state will join a dinner meeting with state minister for foreign affairs Md Shahrir Alam on Wednesday night.

He is scheduled to visit Kurmitola General Hospital to handover medical equipment to the hospital authority while observing Bangladesh's response to the COIVD-19 pandemic treatment there on Thursday.

Beigun will also pay homage to Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman by visiting the Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32.

The US deputy secretary of state will arrive here tomorrow afternoon from New Delhi wrapping up his three-day official visit to India where he met with Indian External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar and Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

Earlier, Foreign Minister Dr Abdul Momen said that he would raise the Rohingya issue seeking stronger US support in commencing repatriation of the displaced Myanmar people from here during his meeting with Biegun.

''It (Rohingyas) is not our only responsibility, it's a global responsibility. The (Rohingyas) must go back to their country (Myanmar),'' he told reporters on Monday.

The foreign minister said that Dhaka would also propose the USA to invest in infrastructure development here under its Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS).

''We don't have any objection regarding USA's IPS, but they (the USA) must come forward in infrastructure development here for making it (IPS) effective,'' he said.

Momen said he will raise the visa issue of potential Bangladeshi students as the US embassy here is yet to start issuing new student visas for Bangladeshi nationals due to the COVID pandemic.

The foreign minister said Dhaka will also seek duty-free access of Bangladesh made readymade garments (RMG) products to the USA market for the next three years to help the country’s RMG sector recover from the financial fallout caused by the pandemic.

''The Deputy Secretary’s engagements in Bangladesh will focus on advancing our common vision of a free, open, inclusive, peaceful and secure Indo-Pacific region with shared prosperity for all,'' an US embassy press release said earlier.

Biegun's visit here will also focus on US-Bangladesh cooperation on COVID-19 response and recovery efforts and sustainable economic development, said the release.

The US deputy secretary of state will leave on Friday.

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