Bangladesh Briefs Mission Heads on Elections, Priorities

The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary said that he briefed the envoys of around 90 countries about the country’s position on various geopolitical and contemporary issues….reports Asian Lite News

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, who is in Delhi for Foreign Office Consultations, on Saturday said he has reached out to around 90 heads of mission in the Indian capital about the foreign policy priorities of the Sheikh Hasina government and preparedness for the general elections to be held in January.

The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary told ANI that he briefed the envoys about the country’s position on various geopolitical and contemporary issues.

“Apart from attending the FOC, I briefed the Heads of concurrently accredited Missions to Bangladesh based in New Delhi last evening at the Bangladesh High Commission. During the briefing, I also highlighted the Foreign Policy priorities and dynamics of Bangladesh under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina,” he said.

“I briefed the Ambassadors about Bangladesh’s position on various geopolitical and contemporary issues. I also briefed them about the recent political scenario and the preparedness for the next general elections in Bangladesh,” he added.

Masud Bin Momen said Bangladesh has made economic progress, has “socio-economy and political stability” and the country has growing importance in the regional and global platforms.

The Bangladesh Foreign Secretary said he urged envoys to consider opening diplomatic missions in Dhaka.

“Given socio-economic developments, continued stability and growing importance in the regional and global platforms and engagements with the issues of global concern, I requested their respective governments to consider opening diplomatic Missions in Dhaka. I assured them of the Bangladesh Government’s cooperation and assistance in facilitating the process,” he said.

India- Bangladesh Foreign Office Consultations (FOC) were held in New Delhi on Friday.

The Indian delegation was led by Foreign Secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra and the Bangladesh delegation was led by Masud Bin Momen.

FOC is an institutional dialogue mechanism between the two Foreign Secretaries to review the entire gamut of bilateral relationship.

The Indian side appreciated Bangladesh’s participation in the recently held Virtual G20 summit and the Voice of Global South Summit 2.0.

Both sides held comprehensive discussions on a wide range of issues covering border and security, trade, commerce and connectivity, cooperation in water, power and energy sectors, people-to-people ties and development cooperation in Bangladesh.

Both sides also exchanged views on sub regional, regional and multilateral issues.

Bangladesh will go to the polls on January 7. The Chief Election Commissioner stated that the last day to submit nomination papers will be November 30, whereas the scrutiny of nomination papers will be from December 1 to December 4.

Moreover, the last date for withdrawal of candidature is December 17 and the Election Commission will allot election symbols to candidates on December 18, according to Dhaka Tribune.

Reportedly, the campaign will run from December 18 to January 5 next year at midnight, the CEC said.

FM refutes reports on threats to US envoy

The Bangladesh State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam had expressed regret over the departure of the US Ambassador Peter Haas amid the announcement of the general elections in the country and called it “unfortunate”.

This comes after certain reports in Dhaka claimed that politicians from the ruling party allegedly threatened the US Ambassador regarding his perceived interference in the elections. However, the State Minister denied these allegations, asserting confidence in the country’s ability to provide adequate security for foreign guests like the ambassador.

“I have a responsibility. All the ambassadors who are posted here are our guests and we are supposed to look after them. Provide them with high security as much as they are also responsible for offering the interests of Bangladeshi diplomats abroad. We know for sure where he is, it’s all his speculation. It’s unfortunate we shouldn’t be discussing all this. But I’m not supposed to disclose his location, it, personal information and its official information. But we know,” the minister told ANI.

Following the announcement of the election date by the election commission, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas is reported to be leaving the country. Sources in Bangladesh informed ANI that the current status of the US Ambassador to Bangladesh reveals he is presently in Sri Lanka.

Minister Shahriar further discussed the US visa restrictions, emphasising that those who do not comply with the law ahead of Bangladesh’s general election could face a denial of visas by the United States.

“The advice is self-explanatory but we don’t like it… But we respect any country’s decision and I am sure our hope is really that the new visa policy will stop BNP and Jamaat from repeating the atrocities they committed in 2014, But unfortunately, it has failed, so the new visa policy did not help the process at all, so it has to be reviewed by the US.” he told ANI.

The US Department of State had announced to impose visa restrictions on Bangladeshi individuals “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh”.

The United States has condemned the political violence that took place in Dhaka in last month in October and said that it will be “reviewing all violent incidents for possible visa restrictions.” It called for calm and restraint on all sides. (ANI)

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