Sun, 19 May 2024
The Daily Ittefaq

Lu in Bangladesh: Sets politics aside, tries to reach out to people

Update : 15 May 2024, 13:51

Having spent much of his time in exploring the taste of Fuchka in Dhaka, visiting US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu has got engaged with social media influencers, apparently going for people instead of politics.

His long informal conversation with PM's adviser Salman F Rahman over dinner, inclusion of a young climate activist in civil society small group discussion and his plans to meet cricketers ahead of the T20 World Cup demonstrate the scope and thrust of his visit differ greatly from previous ones - before the elections in Bangladesh.

"We were thrilled to join the engaging discussions with the influential social media personalities and dedicated volunteers from Bangladesh. Whether you're into diplomacy, social impact, or just looking for some inspiration, these episodes of 'Cha with Peter + Don' are a must-watch," the US Embassy in Dhaka shared on its social media platforms.

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen recently said the pre-election scenario and the current scenario are totally different.

"A new government has been formed. A stable government is carrying forward its activities engaging with various countries. All countries think of engaging with Bangladesh,"  Momen said.

Talking to reporters at his residence on Tuesday night, Salman said the United States expressed willingness to expand the existing relations with Bangladesh on key fronts.

"We want to rebuild the trust," Salman quoted Lu as saying during their discussion over dinner at his residence.

"That's the most important thing. We also reciprocated saying that we also want that," the adviser added.

The two sides did not raise the "kind of misunderstanding" that apparently happened before the national election.

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The US Embassy in Dhaka has shared a brief video appreciating the taste of Bangladeshi fuchka.

 Lu together with US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas were seen in the video.

"Bangladeshi fuchka is the best," they were heard saying while tasting fuchka together.

"East or West, Fuchka is the best! Guess what's cooking! We teamed up with celebrity chef Rahima Sultana to create a fusion of flavors with Fuchka and Jhalmuri! Are you ready for this epic culinary adventure? Enjoy the sneak peak and stay tuned for the full video!," read a message tagged with the tiny video.

As part of sports diplomacy, Lu will get engaged with Bangladeshi cricket stars on Wednesday afternoon.

Donald Lu, accompanied by US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas, will meet Bangladesh Cricket Board and players at Bashundhara Sports Complex, an informed official told UNB.

They will meet the cricketers and board officials to extend their best wishes ahead of the 2024 ICC Men's T20 World Cup to be held in the United States and the West Indies.

Star cricketer Shakib Al Hasan, MP, among others, will be there.

The special event marks the Bangladesh cricket team's participation in the inaugural T20 World Cup in the US.

The 2024 Men's T20 World Cup starts on 2 June at 01:30 BST with hosts United States facing Canada in Texas.

Bangladesh's campaign begins on June 7, against Sri Lanka in Dallas, followed by a match against South Africa in New York on June 10.

With his discussion with the civil society members, Lu laid emphasis on climate adaptation and encouraged youth to come forward to help the people who are at risk in Bangladesh's coastal areas.

During a discussion with the civil society members, Lu cited  examples of Bangladesh and the Maldives which might get affected due to sea-levl rise.

"He highlighted the importance of climate adaptation and protection of people in the coastal areas. He urged the youth to come forward for the protection of people living in the coastal regions," Sohanur Rahman, Executive Coordinator, YouthNet for Climate Justice, told UNB after the meeting.

The Daily Star Editor Mahfuz Anam, rights activist Md Nur Khan Liton, Executive Director of the Bangladesh Centre for Women Workers Solidarity Kalpona Akter, Rani Yan Yan and Mahmuda Akhter were also present.

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The civil society members raised Palestine issue and genocide committed by Israeli forces, said a source.

Politics in the post-election period, human rights, labour rights and workers fair wages also came up for discussion.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas also attended the discussion held at his residence.

Lu arrived here on Tuesday (May 14, 2024) to "strengthen bilateral cooperation" and to demonstrate US support for a free, open, and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

He is visiting Bangladesh to talk about deepening Bangladesh-US cooperation, including deepening the economic ties in ways that the two countries can collaborate further to address climate issues, said Principal Deputy Spokesperson at the US Department of State Vedant Patel. UNB 

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