SECRETARY BLINKEN: Well, good afternoon, everyone. It’s a pleasure to have Foreign Minister Momen here with us today at the State Department, and important to take account of the fact that the relationship between Bangladesh and the United States has grown tremendously over the last 50 years – economically, our people-to-people ties, work that we’ve been doing more recently on everything from climate to health, which we very much value. And we also deeply appreciate Bangladesh’s remarkable generosity to more than 1 million Rohingya refugees that they have been taking care of.
We’re committed to continuing to work together, to find ways to strengthen and deepen the relationship, to address as well economic development and human rights. And of course, we’re looking – the world is looking – to Bangladesh for its next elections, to make sure that they set a strong example for free and fair elections for the region and for the world.
But Abdul, welcome. It’s very good to have you here.
FOREIGN MINISTER MOMEN: Thank you. Thank you, Secretary of State, for your invitation to meet you to strengthen our relationship between U.S. and Bangladesh and to solidify the relationship. I am so thankful to you. And Bangladesh and USA has multifaceted, dynamic, and wide-ranging relationship. And over the last 50 years we have done really well, and we look forward to future 50 years.
Recently, when we were observing our 51st anniversary independence day, President Biden sent a very warm letter to our Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. And he stated, and I quote, “USA and Bangladesh achieved a lot together.” He ended his letter with a very special word, and it is – the word is, Joy Bangla. Means, “Victory to Bangladesh.” It signifies our sacrifice of 3 million lives for our independence, for upholding democracy, human rights, justice, and human dignity. We are thankful to President Biden, and our prime minister has also sent a letter to him which I shall hand over to you today.
Secretary Blinken, you also made a wonderful statement during our independence, and I would like to quote you. You said, “Bangladesh has many reasons to be proud [of]. With a rapidly growing economy, an increasingly well-educated workforce, and a dynamic youth demographic, Bangladesh is quickly becoming a regional leader.” You added, “The United States is proud of its partnership with Bangladesh and of the resulting achievements made over the last five decades. Most [importantly], we have made real strides together battling COVID-19.”
I agree with you. You are also the – we need to all achieve with your support and active partnership, and we are proud of your partnership. And we look beyond in the future, so that we can have more better days in future.
I am here to develop, strengthen, and solidify our relationship. Thank you, Your Excellency.
SECRETARY BLINKEN: Thanks, everyone.