US envoy discussed plans for antigovernment rallies with Bangladesh opposition leader: Russia

The meeting with a member of the opposition in Bangladesh took place in October, the Russian foreign ministry says

Published : 23 Nov 2023, 05:17 PM
Updated : 23 Nov 2023, 05:17 PM

Russia has accused Peter Haas, the US ambassador in Dhaka, of discussing plans for organising antigovernment rallies with an opposition leader in Bangladesh in an “open disregard” for the Vienna Convention.

Haas met the opposition leader at the end of October, Russian foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a briefing on Wednesday. The ministry has posted her remarks on X.

She said Russia has “already repeatedly highlighted the attempts of the United States and its allies to influence internal political processes in Bangladesh under the guise of ensuring that the upcoming parliamentary elections in the country are transparent and inclusive”.

“How can these actions of the American Ambassador to Bangladesh be assessed? Nothing less than gross interference in the internal affairs of a sovereign state on the part of Washington and its satellites, demonstrating open disregard for the norms and rules enshrined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961,” Zakharova said.

She also said Russia does not “doubt the ability” of the Bangladeshi authorities to hold parliamentary elections scheduled for Jan 7 “in full compliance with national legislation independently without the help of overseas well-wishers”.

The opposition BNP and the Jamaat-e-Islami have staged several rounds of transport blockade and hartal, or shutdown, after deadly clashes with police during their rallies on Oct 28.

The parties demand that the Awami League government, headed by Sheikh Hasina, step down and clear the path for an election-time caretaker administration before the parliamentary polls.

The BNP says it will not go to polls unless their demand is met because elections under the Hasina government are “never fair”.

The Jamaat has lost its registration as a political party, which means it cannot contest elections directly.