Dhaka, Washington to counter terrorist financing, fight cybercrime

Diplomatic Correspondent

The US embassy in Dhaka and the state department will host a South Asia regional workshop, in collaboration with the Bangladesh government, to focus on best practices to counter violent extremism and terrorist financing.
The agreement was reached at the third annual partnership dialogue held in Washington DC on October 28-29. The US side was led by under secretary of state for political affairs Wendy Sherman and Bangladesh side by foreign secretary Shahidul Haque.
A joint statement issued after the meeting said the US and Bangladesh discussed the rapidly growing threats in cyberspace and recognised the importance of international cooperation to promote an open and secure cyberspace.
Both the countries discussed opportunities for greater collaboration on cyber-security and to combat cybercrime.
Meanwhile the US also plans to transfer a second coast guard vessel – the USCGC Rush – to join its sister ship Jarvis (Somudra Joy), in the spring of 2015, said the statement.
These transfers are a tangible demonstration of the US commitment to strengthen Bangladesh’s capability to ensure maritime security at the Bay of Bengal, the statement said.
On labour issues, both sides agreed to continue working together to address outstanding needs to safeguard labor rights and workers’ health and safety.
Both sides will also continue to work on the Action Plan to reauthorise Bangladesh’s Generalized System of Preferences benefit at the earliest opportunity, said the statement.
The US has supported efforts to advance worker rights and worker safety with over $10 million in aid for worker safety and labor rights, informed the statement.
USAID plans to announce $5 million in new funding to help protect workers.
The statement said working group discussions on October 28 covered bilateral and regional topics of interest, including development and governance, trade and investment, and security cooperation.
During a plenary session on October 29, the co-chairs reviewed progress and identified areas for deepened cooperation on bilateral, regional and international priorities, including sustainable development, counterterrorism, migration, and climate change.
Recognising Bangladesh’s climate vulnerability due to low lying coastline, the two sides vowed to work together, particularly in assisting adaptation projects through continuing USAID programmes.
The US acknowledged the presence of a vibrant civil society in Bangladesh, and they discussed ways to protect the important work of civil society along with broader citizens’ rights and fundamental freedoms.
The statement further said, US and Bangladesh recognise the ongoing threat presented by the Ebola virus and have decided to work together to strengthen the capacity for response within Bangladesh.
The two sides agreed to schedule a visit by foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali to the United States at the earliest opportunity.
Both sides agreed to hold the fourth Partnership Dialogue in Dhaka in 2015.

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