Bangladesh-US ties on a high: Quayes

Washington now wants to have predictable relations with Dhaka, the Foreign Secretary tells Sheikh Shahariar Zaman

Bangladesh-US relations have reached a new high as Washington now wants to have predictable relations with Dhaka.

“US now considers Bangladesh as an important regular partner with whom Washington wants to discuss many things, and that’s why, we signed Partnership Dialogue agreement to have annual meetings at high level,” Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes has told

Bangladesh and the US signed the Dialogue deal during the visit of US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on May 5, and it stipulates that the countries would have annual consultations under the dialogue to review and give strategic direction to the bilateral relationship.

The first dialogue would be held in September in which Quayes would lead the Bangladesh side, while the US team leader would be Under Secretary for Political Affairs at the State Department Wendy Sherman.

“This is more than, what it looks like, a recognition,” Quayes said.

“Any partnership is value-driven and there must be space in a mature partnership where both convergence and dissonance are accommodated.”

“Partnership is all about convergence but it also should have space for dissonance, and this space must be respected,” the secretary said.

By way of an example, he said Bangladesh might have its own position on Iran or Myanmar discarding US interests in these countries.

“We may have our independent position.”

There should be a follow-up in case of a difference of opinion, as ‘it is a journey, not a destination’.

“The critical factor is continuous engagement, not what we want to achieve,” Quayes said.

“We have to understand the intensity of engagement between Bangladesh and the US, and I think we are on the right track.

“We must look at relationship between states as a journey not as a destination.”

Bangladesh and the US have multifaceted engagement while Dhaka is the partner of all the four global initiatives of President Barack Obama.