World Media

Kerry urges Bangladesh to step up efforts against terrorism

US Secretary of State John Kerry is welcomed by Bangladesh counterpart Mahmood Ali as US ambassador to the country Marcia Bernicat looks on following Kerry's arrival at Dhaka airport

"One of the things that has to happen is how we report on this has to maintain perspective, and not empower in any way these terrorist organizations or elevate them in ways that make it easier for them to recruit or make them stronger", Obama said during a press conference in Malaysia.

The US offered Bangladesh counter-terrorism assistance after last month's deadly cafe attack in Dhaka's diplomatic zone.

On Saturday, security forces killed three Islamist militants, including a Bangladeshi-born Canadian citizen called Tamim Ahmed Chowdhury who was accused of masterminding the assault on cafe.

Kerry said he does not believe "the government of Bangladesh has its head in the sand".

Earlier in the day, Kerry, who landed in Delhi after a brief official trip to Dhaka, had said there was evidence to link the Islamic State to the terror attack on a cafe in Dhaka in July. Michael Kugelman of The Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank, said the USA administration had not paid enough attention to the growing terror threats in Bangladesh, which is now impacting Americans.

Kerry said, "I understand your sensitivity, the issue is under review".

"Dozens of smaller-scale attacks have been carried out during the past several years, often directed at members of religious minorities, foreigners, bloggers, and security officials, and the reason for this is obviously they want to divide you", he said.

He, however, rejected accusations that the government is in denial about the nature of the extremist threat it faces and said the U.S. stood firmly with Bangladesh in its fight against the militants as the two countries agreed to boost cooperation in intelligence exchange. USA officials say Kerry will continue to urge dialogue between India and Pakistan over the dispute, the cause of two of three wars between the nations.

Later speaking at a select gathering in Dhaka, Mr. Kerry underscored the need for "more frequent" communication with Bangladesh for fighting terrorism and militancy.

Critics say Hasina's administration has been trying to exploit the attacks to demonise her domestic opponents and say a government crackdown on opponents has pushed many towards extremism.

Kerry is due to meet with civic leaders as well as embattled Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia, a bitter rival of Hasina.

After meeting with PM Sheikh Hasina, John Kerry went to state guest house Padma.

The foreign ministry on Tuesday said the issue of repatriation of the "self-confessed" convicted killer of Bangladesh's founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman from the USA was raised and discussed during his brief visit to Dhaka on Monday.