Bangladesh abstains on Crimea

Bangladesh has abstained from voting in the UN General Assembly on a resolution opposing the recent Moscow-inspired Crimean referendum.

Published : 30 March 2014, 04:30 PM
Updated : 31 March 2014, 08:54 AM

The UN voting, aiming to declare the result of the referendum as invalid, was held on Thursday.

However, Bangladesh’s foreign ministry had not said immediately what position it would take.

But Bangladesh's final position became clear on Sunday, when the Russian ambassador in Dhaka, Alexander Nikolaev,  “thanked” Bangladesh  during a seminar.

He said he was “grateful” to Bangladesh for abstaining from voting.

There were 100 votes in favour of the resolution, 11 against, and 58 abstentions in the 193-nation assembly.

Two dozen countries did not take part either because they did not show up or because they have not paid their dues, Reuters reported earlier.

Although the resolution is non-binding, Western diplomats said it sent a strong message about 'lack of broad support' for Russia  on the Crimean issue.

A Bangladesh foreign ministry official, however, later confirmed that its representative had abstained from voting on the resolution.

He told that Bangladesh was keenly observing the situation.

“Bangladesh’s foreign policy is guided by the principle of friendship with all, malice towards none,” he maintained.

The Russian ambassador said the Mar 16 Crimean referendum had fully conformed to democratic procedures and international norms.

More than 82 percent of the electorate had taken part in it.

Over 96 percent of those who voted favoured Crimea’s “reunion” with Russia.

“These numbers speak for themselves,” he said.

He said he strongly protested the use of the term “annexation”.

“Its reunification,” Nikolaev said.

Replying to a question, he said Russia was not flexing its muscle but “concentrating on its own interests”.

He said Russia supported a “multi-polar” world, and its engagement with Bangladesh was “comprehensive”.