Dhaka,  Sunday
14 April 2024

BNP delegation holds closed-door meeting with Afreen Akhter

Messenger Online

Published: 03:19, 25 February 2024

BNP delegation holds closed-door meeting with Afreen Akhter

Photo : Collected

A three-member BNP delegation, led by party Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, had a closed-door meeting with visiting US Deputy Assistant Secretary at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, Afreen Akhter, on Saturday (24 February).

The hour-long meeting that began at 3pm was held at the Westin Hotel in the capital’s Gulshan area. US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas was also present at the meeting.

After the meeting, a post on the Facebook page of the US Embassy in Dhaka said, We welcomed a fruitful discussion with BNP’s Secretary General about the current political landscape in Bangladesh and the thousands of opposition members in prison. Looking forward to continued engagement.

It also said engaging in constructive dialogue is key to understanding different perspectives and finding common ground. The embassy also shared a photo of the meeting.

The other member of the BNP delegation includes party Standing Committee member Amir Khosru Mahmud Chowdhury and Organising Secretary Shama Obaid.

Talking to reporters about the meeting, Amir Khosru said they joined the meeting at the invitation of the US and talked about various issues. That's all I can say... I don't have anything more to say.

Asked what they discussed at the meeting, he parried the questions saying he is not willing to say anything about it.

Replying to another question about whether they talked about the last national election in Bangladesh, he also preferred to remain tight-lipped, saying he had nothing to say. No one from the US side briefed reporters on the outcome of the meeting.

This was the first meeting of BNP Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul and Amir Khusro with foreigners after being released from prison. Fakhrul and Khosru were arrested in connection with the violence on the streets ahead of the 12th National Assembly elections centring the party's grand rally in the capital on October 28. They were recently released on bail after spending three and a half months in jail.

Meanwhile, a three-member high-level US delegation arrived in Dhaka on a three-day visit on Saturday morning to discuss with the government of Bangladesh ways to "strengthen diplomatic ties, address challenges, and promote a shared vision for the advancement of mutual interests in the Indo-Pacific region.

Their visit will also include meetings with youth activists and civil society leaders, labour organizers, and those engaged in developing a free and uncensored media, said the US Embassy.

After the January 7 election, the US in a statement on January 8 said, Looking ahead, the United States remains committed to partnering with Bangladesh to advance our shared vision for a free and open Indo-Pacific, to supporting human rights and civil society in Bangladesh, and to deepening our people-to-people and economic ties.