Bangladesh takes advice from friendly nation ‘seriously’, foreign minister says

The minister says the government is being ‘very realistic’ about settling matters through discussions

Published : 14 Nov 2023, 04:19 PM
Updated : 14 Nov 2023, 04:19 PM

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen is looking positively at the letter from the United States calling for unconditional talks to settle political differences.

“When a friendly nation suggests something to us, we take it seriously. We discuss it. If we think that it will bring good to the country, we accept it,” he said on Tuesday.

The US has called on the three major political parties of the country to engage in unconditional discussion to ensure a free, fair and participatory election.

Donald Lu, the US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia, already sent letters to the Awami League, BNP and Jatiya Party calling them to a meeting.

The BNP, like-minded alliances and parties and Jamaat-e-Islami are carrying out protests demanding an election-time caretaker government. These parties have announced a 48-hour blockade from Wednesday. This will be the fifth time they called for a transport blockade.

The government, on the other hand, is sticking to the High Court’s ruling on the scrapping of the caretaker government system.

The conflicting views have put the country on the path of consecutive blockades much like the one it faced a decade ago. Arson attacks on vehicles and acts of sabotage have once again become a cause of huge concern for citizens.

The American ambassador in Dhaka, Peter Haas, visited the Jatiya Party office on Monday and handed a letter from Lu to party Chairman GM Quader.

The US embassy in Dhaka wanted to help the political parties settle their conflicts over non-partisan government later in the day.

The embassy also issued a statement on Monday presenting where the US stood regarding the general election.

Stephen Ibelli, a spokesperson for the US embassy in Dhaka, said in a statement on Monday: “Ambassador Haas has requested meetings with senior officials in all three major political parties to underscore the US position regarding the upcoming elections.”

Momen said the government was “very realistic” about these matters.

“We have no objection to engaging in discussions, but we definitely have questions about with whom we would have it.”

On the call for a discussion, he said: “Many such suggestions always keep coming. Let them come. We also need to see whether it’s applicable in our country. We’ve to consider that theories don’t always fit with realities.”