Wednesday, 17 July, 2024
Wednesday, 17 July, 2024

Envoy: Russia not competing with US for influence in Bangladesh

Diplomatic Correspondent,
  19 Dec 2023, 23:21

Russian Ambassador in Dhaka Alexander Mantytskiy on Tuesday said Moscow was not competing with the United States or other Western countries for influence in Bangladesh.

“We are just saying… look what is done, what was done and what is being done by the Western counties here,” Mantytskiy said while replying to a question on recent statements by Russia on US interference in Bangladesh’s politics.

The press briefing was organized at the embassy on the visit of Vitaliy Gubenko and Alexander Zalutskiy, members of the Special Purpose Expedition of the Soviet Pacific Fleet, which had worked on cleaning Chittagong Port of mines and submerged ships from 1972-1974. 

They are visiting Bangladesh to participate in commemorative events on the occasion of Bangladesh’s Victory Day.
US-Russia relations have sunk to their lowest levels since the Cold War, over the Ukraine issue.

Dhaka is facing problems with Washington over the upcoming general election, for which the US has announced a visa policy for Bangladesh.

Russia has called the US's measures in Bangladesh’s internal matter “interference.”

The Russian foreign ministry’s spokesperson in a daily briefing in Moscow claimed US interference in Bangladesh giving details of how Ambassador Peter Haas was encouraging anti-government protests.

"If the results of the people's will (in the January 7 election) are not satisfactory to the United States, attempts to further destabilize the situation in Bangladesh along the lines of the Arab Spring are likely," spokesperson MV Zakharova recently said.

The Russian ambassador said the spokesperson had drawn a comparison between what was happening in Dhaka now and what had happened in Ukraine 10 years back in her November statement.

“They (US) have thrown the elected government. It was done with American assistance. Later they recognized that America spent $5 billion to manage the coup,” the ambassador said.

In January 1972, a war-torn Bangladesh appealed to the UN for help in solving the problem of its paralyzed ports.

The ambassador said the necessary funding to hire private ship-lifting companies had been found, but contract negotiations had come to no avail.

“Meanwhile, preliminary talks on the same issue were underway between Moscow and Dhaka. On March 3, Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman requested the Soviet leadership to send an expedition to restore Chittagong port's functioning. The response was quick, and the respective agreement was signed the same month. Notably, it didn’t entail any financial liabilities for Bangladesh, as the USSR undertook the task on purely humanitarian grounds, while other ‘volunteers’ requested over $10 million for that job.”

He went on to say that today “we remain a reliable partner of Bangladesh’s progressive journey.”


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