Dhaka – US Secretary of State John Kerry arrived in Dhaka Monday to discuss a host of bilateral and international issues amid tension over a series of recent terrorist attacks in Bangladesh, officials said.
Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali received the US official at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport airport as he flew from Geneva to stay nine hours in Dhaka before embarking for India.
This is Kerry’s first visit to Bangladesh as a Secretary of State. He arrived at Dhaka by a special aircraft from Geneva where the US official held talks on Syria crisis with Russia and United Nations officials.
“Secretary Kerry will meet with government officials to discuss our growing cooperation on global issues,” a statement issued by the US State Department earlier said.
He also will focus on strengthening longstanding bilateral partnership on democracy, development, security and human rights, the statement said.
Beside his official talks with Ali, Kerry is scheduled to meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, former prime minister Khaleda Zia and a number of civic leaders during his stay in Dhaka.
He will place wreath at the Bangabandhu museum to pay homage to Bangladesh founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who was assassinated in a military putsch in 1975.
The Secretary had offered counter-terrorism assistance for Bangladesh after the last month’s terrorist attack on a restaurant in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone that killed 20, civilians, including 17 foreign nationals.
Kerry phone Hasina after the deadliest terrorist attack and put the offer. But Bangladesh was still assessing the offer.
The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but the government said a homegrown group, Jumatul Mujahedeen Bangladesh, outlawed in 2005 was behind it.
Police claimed on Saturday that they killed one of the masterminds of the cafe attack.
At least 40 other people, including secularist bloggers, writers, priest, gay rights activists and academics, were killed in attacks, claimed either by Islamic State or al-Qaeda Indian sub-continent chapter, in the Muslim-majority country since early 2013.