Kerry says to step up cooperation with Bangladesh in fighting terrorism


DHAKA,  (Xinhua) — Top U.S. diplomat John Kerry, who on Monday arrived in Dhaka for a visit, has stressed the urgency of closer cooperation with Bangladesh to better combat militancy and terrorism.

Speaking at a program after meeting Prime Minister Sheikh, Kerry called for stepping up cooperation between the United States and Bangladesh.

“We’re working with partners to make Bangladesh resilient against all odds,” Kerry said.

Muslim-majority Bangladesh faces a growing threat of militant violence with a string of incidents this year including the killing of several liberal activists and attacks on minority Shi’ite Muslims, Christian priest, Hindu temples, bloggers and free-thinkers.

Before the wounds of the July 1 deadly terror attack at a Spanish restaurant in Dhaka, that left 22 people, including 18 foreigners and two police officers dead, had even begun to heal, Bangladesh suffered a fresh blow on July 7 when terrorists attacked Muslims’ Eid prayers.

At least four people were killed, including two police officers and one of the attackers, after several explosions and gunfire took place at the entrance of the country’s largest Sholakia Eid prayer venue in Kishoreganj district, some 117 km northeast of Dhaka, on the morning of July 7.

Against this backdrop, Dhaka has taken unprecedented security measures to further tighten its security protocols.

During the meeting with Hasina, Kerry expressed his government’s keenness to support Bangladesh in fighting terrorism and militancy, said PM’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim .

Bangladeshi Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali received Kerry shortly after an aircraft carrying him from Geneva touched down Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport at about 10:10 a.m. local time.

During his nine-hour stay in Dhaka before leaving for New Delhi at about 7:00 p.m. (local time) on Monday to join ‘US-India Strategic and Commercial Dialogue, which is to be held on Aug. 30 , Kerry also met Bangladeshi civil society representatives and journalists.