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Kerry’s 9-hr stay in Dhaka

WT24 Desk

US Secretary of State John Kerry will be in Dhaka for 9 hours on Monday, with a series of meetings with Bangladeshi leaders slated to keep his schedule packed, agencies report.

Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali will receive Kerry at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on his arrival at 9:25am from Geneva by a special aircraft, said an official at the Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

He will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the Prime Minister’s Office at 12pm and will hold bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali at state guesthouse Padma at 1pm, according to the schedule decided by both sides so far.

The Foreign Minister will host a lunch in honor of his US counterpart. Before that, Kerry will visit Bangabandhu Memorial Museum in the city at about 11:30am, foreign ministry sources said. The US Secretary of State will visit a garment factory in Mirpur at 3pm.

He will meet youngsters and civil society representatives at the EMK Center at 4pm. Then he will hold a meeting with US Embassy staff at 5pm, and from there he will move to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

He is scheduled to leave Dhaka for New Delhi at 6:40pm. Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque will see him off at the airport. Earlier, the officials of the foreign ministry, the US Embassy and law enforcement agencies held a series of meetings on Saturday on overall preparation of the visit.

Special Security Force (SSF) is likely to ensure Kerry’s security during his stay in Dhaka. Foreign Minister Ali, earlier, said all aspects of the bilateral relations will be discussed during Kerry’s visit.

Talking to UNB on Friday, US embassy spokesperson Nancy VanHorn said priority areas for the visit will include US’s growing cooperation on global issues, bilateral partnership on democracy, development, security and human rights.

It is also thought Leader of the Opposition in parliament Rowshan Ershad and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia would be fitted into the schedule at some point, though not confirmed yet.

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