Staff Reporter : State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam has affirmed that there was no grounds warranting additional sanctions from the US and said the government is not under any external pressure.
“The government is not under any external pressure from anywhere. We don’t see any ground for further sanctions,” he said on Wednesday.
The State Minister came up with the remarks at an interactive event on “Bangladesh at the Crossroads” organised by national Bengali daily The Ittefaq at a city hotel on Wednesday. The Daily Ittefaq Executive Director and Publisher Tareen Hossain delivered the welcome remarks.
When asked about foreign pressure on the government, the State Minister said, “Do you really think even if someone wants to put pressure they can move Sheikh Hasina?”
“She is the daughter of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. That is her pride and that is what drives her. Please do some justice to this legacy and do not invite such weaker observations,” he said.
Regarding the caretaker government, “The demand for caretaker government is an illegal demand as per the Constitution and the verdict passed by the judges. BNP’s such demand is acting as an obstacle to free and fair poll.”
“The political commitment from all political parties is necessary for holding free and fair elections. We hope all parties will take part in the poll to exert their commitment,” he stated.
“BNP and their cohorts are issuing various threats against the elections. They are stating that actions will be taken against police officers, administrators, and election officials who will participate in the election. This is a serious threat. I hope that the US will take note of it attentively,” Alam said.
Asked about the China-led Global Development Initiative (GDI), he said, “It is a new phenomenon and there is nothing to share until something is done from Bangladesh’s side. We are yet to reach any such stage regarding the GDI.”
He, however, said that there is a committee in place which will look into GDI. Regarding the Rohingya crisis, he said, “The government is trying its best and has sought cooperation of all big countries to resolve it.”
In reply to another query, he said, “There is no security threat in the country. Security cooperation does not mean joining any alliance.”
Asked about the relations with the US, Alam said, “The Bangladesh-US friendship has reached a level of depth and breadth that enables them to engage in open and honest discussions about their differences.” When asked about the reported letter by six congressmen to US President Joe Biden, the State Minister expressed uncertainty, stating, “I am not aware if it is accurate.” He highlighted that the BNP has a track record of misusing and distorting statements from foreign allies. He also referred to an article by BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in the Washington Times, where she called for the withdrawal of GSP (Generalised System of Preferences) facilities for Bangladesh.