Remarks With Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni Before Their Meeting

John Kerry
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
May 17, 2013

The video is available with closed captioning on YouTube.

SECRETARY KERRY: Good afternoon. I’m very happy to welcome Foreign Minister Dipu Moni from Bangladesh. And let me begin by expressing all of our gratitude that Bangladesh did not get the worst of the tropical storm Mahasen, but it still got hit, and we are prepared to be as helpful as we can in any way that we can in order to relieve the suffering of people.

And speaking of suffering, the Rana Plaza collapsed, which cost more than 1,000 lives. Everybody in America shared the agony of those losses, and our hearts go out to the families. We hope that this will be able to help all of us cooperate on the issue of labor and labor standards and workers and workers’ rights, obviously. We know you want to work hard to cooperate on that, and there are a number of initiatives we have.

We look forward to our dialogue, our partnership dialogue that will take place in Dhaka in about a week or so. And this is a very important step in working on presidential initiatives, including climate change and food security, among others. And these are important initiatives for both of us.

We also appreciate the difficulties you face with the issue of the Rohingya refugees. The Rohingya is really a problem that comes from Burma, from Myanmar. And the problem is that maybe 30,000 or more are --

FOREIGN MINISTER MONI: Registered refugees.

SECRETARY KERRY: -- registered refugees in Bangladesh. And it creates tensions, and it’s a difficult issue.

So we have a lot to talk about. We want to see Bangladesh continue to move forward, as it is working to on a number of different issues of labor and labor standards. But I am very, very happy to welcome the Foreign Minister here. We’ve worked together on a number of critical initiatives, and we look forward to a good meeting.

Thank you.

FOREIGN MINISTER MONI: I’m very happy to be here. And as Secretary Kerry mentioned, we have a lot of things to discuss. And I believe that the U.S.-Bangladesh relationship is at its best now. And we’re looking forward to more cooperation in all areas of our common concern, both bilaterally and also at the multinational level.

And there’s a lot of admirers of Secretary Kerry in Bangladesh, so I also hope that Secretary Kerry would come to Bangladesh for a visit soon.

Thank you.

SECRETARY KERRY: I would like to. Thank you. Thank you very much.


PRN: 2013/0596