Statement by the President and Prime Minister Sheikh Husina (10/19/00)
                              THE WHITE HOUSE

                       Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release                                          October 19,


     Today, in their first meeting since President Clinton?s historic trip
to Bangladesh in March, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and President Clinton
renewed and strengthened the excellent ties enjoyed by our two democracies
and expressed their conviction that U.S.-Bangladeshi relations should
deepen and broaden in the years ahead.  The two leaders also expressed
satisfaction with continuing constructive consultations between government
officials of both countries.

     The United States and Bangladesh are two of the world?s most populous
democracies.  In keeping with the commitment to democracy our two nations
enthusiastically endorsed in Warsaw in June 2000, Bangladesh and the United
States expressed their common commitment to the free and fair conduct of
elections, strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law.  The
President appreciated the Prime Minister?s reiteration of her commitment to
strengthening democracy and democratic institutions and the expression of
her determination to further encourage efforts for independent election
monitoring, particularly for national elections under a caretaker

     The President expressed satisfaction and appreciation for Bangladesh?s
role in fostering international peace and cooperation, as well as the Prime
Minister?s efforts to reduce tensions in the South Asian region.  The two
leaders agreed it is essential for the United States and Bangladesh to
coordinate positions on major issues that come before the United Nations
Security Council and other international fora.  Regarding the Middle East,
the two leaders lauded the call, made at Sharm el-Sheikh, for an end to
violence and resumed efforts toward peace.  The President also praised
Bangladesh?s significant commitment to international peacekeeping.  The
Prime Minister assured the President that Bangladesh will maintain this
commitment and will actively support a United Nations Scale of Assessment
reform that will place that organization on a solid financial footing.  The
two leaders discussed their mutual interest in promoting greater
cooperation in regional fora, such as the South Asian Association for
Regional Cooperation (SAARC).  The President pointed to the settlement of
the Chittagong Hill Tracts conflict and the
Ganges Water Sharing Agreement as excellent examples of peacemaking and
dispute resolution in the region.

     The President expressed satisfaction that Bangladesh was the first
country in South Asia to ratify the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and
reaffirmed the American intention to work for ratification of the Treaty at
its earliest possible date.  Both leaders welcomed the work of the
Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty Organization?s Preparatory Organization in
establishing a seismic auxiliary station in Chittagong.  They welcomed the
extension of our bilateral Peaceful Uses of Nuclear Energy Agreement.  The
Prime Minister expressed Bangladesh?s interest in participating in the
United States? program to dispose of spent fuel.

     The Prime Minister and President noted with satisfaction the
significant improvement in U.S.-Bangladesh economic relations over the last
several years, in which continuing development assistance has been
accompanied by a rapid increase of American investment and an increase in
bilateral trade.  The President praised the rise of Bangladesh as a partner
in development, a supporter of private/public partnerships, and a
participant in the world economy.  The leaders emphasized the positive
effect the implementation of investor-friendly policies has on attracting
foreign investment.  The Prime Minister and President welcomed progress on
the conclusion of negotiations on gas production and exploration in
east-central Bangladesh.  Given the important role that natural gas can
play in Bangladesh?s development, the two leaders applauded the work of
Petrobangla and the United States Geological Survey in estimating
Bangladesh?s gas resources.   The Prime Minister stated that these
resources will be used to accelerate Bangladesh?s economic development and
improve the lives of its people.

     The Prime Minister stressed that the garment sector has been an engine
of growth in Bangladesh, providing employment to nearly two million women.
Considering the importance of the textile sector in the economy of
Bangladesh, the Prime Minister asked the President to provide more
preferential access to Bangladeshi exports to the United States.

     The two leaders shared their common commitment to continuing
liberalization of international trade within the context of the World Trade
Organization.  Noting that the efficiency of Bangladesh?s port facilities
is a critical factor in enhancing Bangladesh?s opportunities in world
trade, the two leaders welcomed progress in negotiations for building a new
container port terminal and expressed the hope that an agreement could be
signed at an early date.

     The two leaders discussed Bangladesh?s potential in the field of
information technology and the President invited Bangladesh to participate
as a partner country in the Internet for Economic Development (IED)
Initiative. They pledged to work for the early conclusion of a tax treaty
between Bangladesh and the United States.  Finally, the two leaders agreed
to take steps to liberalize air services.

     The President voiced his strong support for actions already underway
in Bangladesh to improve the lives of the working poor, especially women.
The Prime Minister and President expressed their joint commitment to
promote internationally recognized labor rights and improve working
conditions.  They noted with satisfaction the work of the International
Labor Organization in Bangladesh, supported by the United States Department
of Labor.  They recognized the pioneering role played by Bangladesh in
efforts to eliminate child labor in the garment industry.  They agreed on
the global need to fight child labor and trafficking in women and children
and expressed confidence in new international and United States programs
that will address this issue in South Asia.  The President applauded the
Prime Minister?s commitment to conclude the process of ratification of ILO
convention 182 this year.  The President encouraged the Prime Minister to
establish internationally-recognized labor rights in its export processing
zones, and affirmed the American commitment to assist in this process.

     The United States and Bangladesh agreed to cooperate closely in the
fight against international crime, narcotics trafficking and terrorism.
The two leaders agreed to build on law enforcement cooperation with further
training and consultation, particularly in combating crimes of violence
against women.  They recognized the need for improvements in Bangladesh?s
police force and prisons and agreed to
explore ways in which police professionalism and prison conditions could be

     The President and Prime Minister noted with satisfaction that progress
has been made toward the negotiation of an extradition treaty and agreed to
facilitate an early conclusion of work on it.

     On the environment, the leaders welcome the establishment of a
Tropical Forest Conservation Fund, the first of its kind in the world, to
enable bilateral debt relief to be used to preserve unique ecosystems and
protect the global environment.

     They welcomed the signing of an agreement to enable Bangladesh to
participate in the Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the
Environment (GLOBE) initiative.

     They welcomed the Clean Energy Agreement signed by representatives of
the two governments.

     The two leaders expressed concern at the serious danger posed by
arsenic contamination to the people of Bangladesh and noted the United
States Geological Survey?s work on the arsenic groundwateacr problem in
Bangladesh, and the grants of the Trade and Development Agency and the
National Science Foundation to conduct research in this area.

     The two leaders encouraged cooperation between Bangladesh business
people and investors and their American counterparts.  The leaders remarked
on the success of the newly reestablished Peace Corps program in Bangladesh
and agreed to explore how this program could be expanded.  The Prime
Minister noted the interest of Bangladesh students in expanding
opportunities for higher education in the United States.  The Prime
Minister and the President paid tribute to the contributions of Bangladesh
immigrants to the United States in improving our commercial ties and
cultural exchanges.  Bangladesh traditions, heritage, and talents are a
rich contribution to American life, further enhancing the growing
relationship between our two societies.


President and First Lady | Vice President and Mrs. Gore
Record of Progress | The Briefing Room
Gateway to Government | Contacting the White House | White House for Kids
White House History | White House Tours | Help
Privacy Statement


Site Map

Graphic Version

T H E   W H I T E   H O U S E