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US ‘heartened’ by Bangladesh’s response to new visa policy

UNB . Dhaka
26 May 2023 22:24:52 | Update: 26 May 2023 22:27:15
US ‘heartened’ by Bangladesh’s response to new visa policy

The United States said they were "heartened" by the announcement from the government of Bangladesh that welcomed the steps taken by Washington regarding visa policy.

"We believe that democracy is the most enduring means to advance peace, prosperity, and security. It’s why we made the announcement, and we look forward to working with the Bangladeshi Government going forward," spokesperson at the US Department of State Matthew Miller told reporters at a regular briefing on Thursday.

Asked whether the US would urge the opposition to take part in the upcoming national election, Miller said, "I’m not going to speak to what any political party within Bangladesh should or should not do. I will say that the United States’ interest in this question is in support of free and fair and peaceful elections. That’s why we announced the new policy."

On Thursday, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam said Bangladesh expects that the new US visa policy will not be applied arbitrarily in a non-objective manner.

He read out the statement before the media on Thursday afternoon.

The government of Bangladesh has taken note of the announcement made by the US secretary of state on a visa restriction policy pursuant to the so-called 3C provision under the US Immigration and Act.

"Bangladesh would like to view this announcement in the broader context of its government’s unequivocal commitment to holding free and fair elections at all levels for upholding the country’s democratic process," reads the statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA).

Under Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s leadership, the MoFA said, Bangladesh remains a democratic and politically stable nation with experience of holding a series of elections at national and local levels.

The government apparatus will take necessary measures to prevent and address any unlawful practices or interference by any individual, group or entity to compromise the smooth and participatory conduct of the elections.

The electoral process will remain under strict vigilance, including by international observers as accredited by the Election Commission, according to the statement.

The government expects that the local undemocratic forces that resort to violence, arson and destruction would remain cautious and refrain from their misguided efforts to jeopardise the electoral process as mandated by the constitution.

"It is entirely up to the people of Bangladesh to sustain the hard-earned democratic process, political stability and development gains in the country," the MoFA said.

The government appreciates that the international community, including the US, firmly stands by the prime minister’s sustained commitment to ensure free and fair elections.