Wednesday 29, June 2022

‘Bangladesh won’t change stance on Ukraine war’

News Desk: Bangladesh categorically told the US that it is not going to shift the present position on the Ukraine war in line with the desire of any power, senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) told the FE.

According to the officials, the issue was discussed during the recent dialogues between the two countries in Washington, where Bangladesh conveyed the message to the US.

"We've told them that historically Bangladesh has a good relationship with Russia. Our position is based on that historical relationship," said Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, who led the US-Bangladesh security dialogue in Washington last week.

Dhaka said it is very difficult to change its position in line with the desire of any country.

The foreign secretary also mentioned that Bangladesh is going to strengthen its preparations to start legal moves to withdraw the US sanction against RAB.

Commenting on this issue, Mr Momen said the US State Department high-ups made it clear that withdrawal of the sanction would require a long process.

However, he mentioned that Dhaka requested Washington to continue providing training and capacity building assistance to other law-enforcing agencies here.

The foreign secretary also said Bangladesh, in principle, agreed to sign the GSOMIA agreement, which is a pre-requisite for procuring arms from the US. Five stages are needed for signing the agreement.

"We are in the third stage, and there are two other stages for finalising the agreement."

"We have to scrutinise details of the draft agreement, handed over to us during the partnership dialogue - held in Dhaka in the last week of March."

"We have to ensure that it does not hamper interest of the country. Then we will take the next step. So it is a lengthy process," he added.

About Bangladesh's willingness to join the US-led Indo-Pacific Strategy (IPS), the foreign secretary opined that Bangladesh is eager to participate in economic components of the IPS, which was declared by the US recently.

"There are a lot of issues in the IPS, where the visions of both the countries are similar, and we can definitely cooperate in these issues."

Mr Momen opined that both the countries expressed a strong desire to strengthen the bilateral relationship in the next 50 years. This was clearly highlighted in the letter - sent to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina by US President Joe Biden.

The dialogue also discussed democratic practices and the upcoming general election in Bangladesh.

The US side told Bangladesh that the country wants to see a free, fair and participatory election, officials said.

In response, Dhaka told Washington that it is also the desire of the government, and a lot of steps have been taken to ensure a free, fair and participatory election.

During the dialogues Bangladesh again urged the US to hand over Rashed Chowdhury, a convicted killer of Bangabandhu, to Bangladesh.

However, the US side responded that the issue is in the hands of the Justice Department, and it is independent to take any decision in this regard.


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