Kerry stops in Bangladesh before joining ‘US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue’

August 29, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

Martial Trezzini/AP



Sheuli Akter

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has stopped briefly in Dhaka to talk to Bangladesh officials who are coping with a series of extremist attacks.

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali received Kerry at the country’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at about 10:10 a.m. local time Monday after an aircraft carried him from Geneva.

During his nine-hour stay in Dhaka before leaving for New Delhi, he will hold a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali on a whole range of issues, including a counterterrorism cooperation.


Terror-gripped Bangladesh has been striving to rein militant activities. Attacks over the past two years have killed atheist bloggers, foreign aid workers and religious minorities.

As part of various efforts, Bangladesh law enforcers last month busted a militant den where nine suspected militants of banned Islamist outfit Jamaatul Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB) were killed in a “gunfight” during the raid on the group’s hideout in the capital Dhaka.

22 people, including 18 foreigners and two police officers were killed in the country’s first-ever hostage crisis in Gulshan on July 1. IS has claim credit for the Gulshan cafe attack.

Bangladesh authorities ruled out IS presence in the country and said homegrown militants had attacked the Spanish cafe.

The 12-hour hostage crisis ended after Bangladesh law enforcers stormed the cafe, leaving five of the six attackers dead. Another attacker later died in hospital.

On Saturday, police said they had killed three suspected militants, including an alleged mastermind of July 1 Gulshan cafe attack.


In his first visit to Bangladesh after former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Kerry will also meet Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, civil society representatives and journalists.

Ali had earlier told journalists the entire gamut of Bangladesh-U.S. relations will be discussed during Secretary of State John Kerry’s visit.

Kerry is scheduled to leave for New Delhi at about 7:00 p.m. (local time) on Monday to join the seventh ‘US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue’, which is to be held on August 30th.

Washington-New Delhi discussions are taking place at a time when tensions rise in the disputed region of Kashmir, the scene of some of the largest protests against Indian rule in recent years.

Many Kashmiris want an end to Indian rule and favor independence or a merger with Pakistan. More than 68,000 people have reporedly been killed since rebel groups began fighting Indian forces in 1989 and in the subsequent Indian military crackdown.

Since early July, at least 67 civilians reporteldy have been killed and thousands injured, mostly by government forces firing bullets and shotguns at rock-throwing protesters.

India and Pakistan control parts of the Himalayan territory and claim it in its entirety.

Sources said Kerry will likely urge dialogue between India and Pakistan over the dispute, the cause of two of three wars between the nations.








Sheuli Akter

Sheuli Akter, from Bangladesh, is a Special Correspondent and Editor of NsNewsWire, (Bangladesh’s First Press Newswire). Previously she had worked for Bangladesh’ top news agency, United News of Bangladesh (UNB) and top newspaper (now defunct) The Bangladesh Observer. She also gained an honourable mention in the first ever World Media Summit WMS Awards for ‘Exemplary News Professionals in Developing Countries’, receiving the award in Beijing in January 2015.


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