Says Momen on whether there’s any fear of US sanctions over Dec-14 incident

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen. File photo/Reuters


Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen. File photo/Reuters

There is no reason for Bangladesh to worry that the US may impose sanctions in the wake of the December 14 incident involving the US ambassador to Bangladesh, Foreign Minister Abdul Momen said yesterday.

Terming the relations between the two countries as “very good”, he said, “We have nothing to fear.”

He added that the US imposes sanctions on those it wants to pressure.

“I remember they placed sanctions against [Indian Prime Minister Narendra] Modi and then withdrew [the sanctions].”

The minister made the remarks while replying to a query by a reporter after attending the BIISS Research Colloquium 2022 as the chief guest. The Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies organised the programme at the BIISS auditorium in the capital.

“…We have very good relations with America. We have a lot of engagements in different fields. There have been at least 16 meetings between the two countries this year. They make suggestions as we have good relations,” he said.

On December 14, US Ambassador Peter Haas visited the Shaheenbagh home of missing BNP leader Sajedul Islam Sumon to meet with the families of victims of enforced disappearance. Sumon’s mother is a key organiser of a platform of such families called Mayer Daak.

During his visit, members of Mayer Kanna took position in front of the house and demanded justice for their relatives who were victims of court martial during the regime of late president Ziaur Rahman, founder of BNP, in 1977.

After Mayer Kanna members tried to enter the building, Haas ended his visit early and as he was exiting the venue, some of the protesters surrounded the ambassador’s vehicle.

Haas raised the incident with the foreign ministry. The US government then summoned the Bangladesh ambassador in Washington DC.

At yesterday’s event at the BIISS auditorium, the foreign minister said his ministry assigned BIISS to look into whether the country would join “Quad”, a US-led strategic initiative.

“Recently there is a debate about the Quad and the Indo-Pacific Business Forum [IPBF]. To understand the issues, we requested the BIISS to look into the matter,” he said.

“They have submitted one report on the Indo-Pacific Business Forum, with pros and cons of Bangladesh joining … we are working on it,” Momen said.

US, India, Japan and Australia are part of an informal strategic alliance — the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue, or Quad — and the governments of the United States and India co-hosted the fourth annual IPBF virtually on October 28-29, 2021.

The IPBF advances the United States’ vision for an open, interconnected, resilient, and secure Indo-Pacific region.

BIISS is a statutory government institution established with the aim of undertaking and promoting research and deliberation on international affairs, security and developmental issues.

“The foreign ministry expects more innovative research activities along with traditional ones. With impending global climatic, political and economic crises, its [BIISS’s] role will be greater than ever in our decision-making.”

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs stand ready to extend cooperation,” Momen said.

BIISS Director General Major General Sheikh Pasha Habib Uddin delivered the welcome speech in the inaugural session that was chaired by BIISS Chairman Ambassador Kazi Imtiaz Hossain.

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