US assistance for Bangladesh will continue

The newly-appointed Mission Director of the United States foreign assistance outlet, USAID, to Bangladesh, Janina Jaruzelski, today said her government would continue to assist Bangladesh “at the same level as before”.

“There is broad consensus in Washington that USAID should continue aid to Bangladesh, regardless of the political situation,” she told a press conference at the AmericanCenter here, reports BSS.

Bangladesh receives about $200m in aid, bilaterally, from the United States on an average year. The same amount will be available in the current year and also in future, she assured the audience.

USAIDEarlier, the US made it clear that they would continue to work with the new government under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina.

The areas covered by the USAID program in Bangladesh includes those related to politics and governance that covers strengthening of political institutions and other important state organs.

Replying to a question, the newly USAID chief said there would be a “realignment” and “refocusing” of their programs in line with the political realities of the post-January 5, 2014 election.

She reiterated her government’s position that it would continue to support Bangladesh in its efforts to become a middle- income country by the year 2021 which coincides with the Golden Jubilee -50 years – of the Republic.

Mentioned here that a number of congressional hearings on Bangladesh had been held in the last six months that had condemned the political violence in the name of political programs, terrorism and attacks on minorities. Another hearing is expected next month.

US ambassador Dan Mozena and other members of the US embassy were present at the press conference.

Janina Jaruzelski was sworn, earlier in Washington, as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) mission director to Bangladesh.

USAID Associate Administrator Mark Feierstein administered the oath and Acting Assistant Administrator for Asia Denise Rollins delivered remarks.

Rollins said that Jaruzelski assumes leadership at a time when Bangladesh is a partner country for all three major U.S. Government development initiatives: Feed the Future (addressing global food insecurity), Global Climate Change and the Global Health Initiative.

USAID assistance supports this goal by promoting democratic institutions and practices, economic opportunity, effective health and education services, food security, responsiveness to climate change, and preparedness and response to natural disasters, he added.

Jaruzelski, a member of the Senior Foreign Service with the rank of Minister Counselor, has served with USAID since 1995 in both Washington, D.C. and overseas posts.

Most recently, Jaruzelski was the USAID mission director in Bolivia, where she served through September 2013.

Jaruzelski has been awarded three Superior Honor Awards and numerous Meritorious Honor, performance and group awards by USAID.

Jaruzelski graduated magna cum laude from PrincetonUniversity and holds a law degree from the University of Pennsylvania.