Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said that the issue of sanctions on the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) and its officials will be resolved through dialogue.
"I told him that it [the sanctions] was not accepted by the countrymen. We have a 50-year relationship with you based on trust, so we expected you to let us know before making any decision. We didn't really like it [how it happened]," said Momen while answering a question at the Foreign Service Academy in a press briefing on the three-day state visit of the Indian president to Bangladesh.
Momen made the comments while discussing the conversation he had with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who called the foreign minister to discuss bilateral issues on Wednesday.
"I also said that we have a lot of ongoing dialogues, where any issues can be discussed. He said that we would meet soon and have more dialogues, and try to handle our problems," the foreign minister added.
The FM also said that the US secretary of state invited him to visit the USA next spring.
Regarding the positive role of RAB, Momen said, "I also told him that you have started a movement against global terrorism, drug addiction, human trafficking and other crimes. However, you have also banned an organisation like RAB, which has fulfilled your global targets in Bangladesh.
"In reply, he said that the United States and Bangladesh have the opportunity to work on many issues, including climate change and peacekeeping. Their government has put enough emphasis on democracy and human rights. I have said that as a democracy, we, too, have emphasised human rights. We have built a reputation across the world for this, because we are very open about it," he added.
Asked if the lifting of sanctions on RAB was discussed, Momen said neither party discussed the matter.
"The main objective of our telephone conversation was to discuss the sanction issue. He [Blinken] was very positive. We discussed in a very warm atmosphere."
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken called Abdul Momen on Wednesday evening and discussed issues of mutual interests.
The two sides spoke on bilateral issues and areas of cooperation.
He also congratulated Bangladesh on the occasion of its 50th year anniversary of independence.
"Both renewed the resolve to take forward the relationship further. They also agreed to increase engagement, while celebrating the 50th anniversary of bilateral relationship," State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam tweeted earlier.
US State Department Spokesperson Ned Price said Secretary of State Antony J Blinken reaffirmed their long-standing partnership with Bangladesh on development, economic growth, and security.
"The two leaders discussed the importance of human rights and agreed to strengthen bilateral cooperation and address shared global challenges," said the spokesperson.
On 10 December, the US State Department imposed sanctions on RAB and seven of its former and current officials, including the current Inspector General of Police (IGP) and former RAB director general (DG) Benazir Ahmed.
Due to the sanctions, they will not get a US visa, and may even have their assets in the US confiscated.
Earlier on Saturday, US ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller was summoned by Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen to convey Dhaka's discontent over the designated sanctions.