Lifting sanctions on Rab: Diplomatic efforts in place but it's long-term process
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told parliament today that the US sanctions on Rab are nothing but a political matter.
Terming the lifting of sanctions a long-term process, the minister said strong diplomatic efforts were made since the beginning to resolve it, as he was responding to a question from Jatiya Party MP Mujibul Haque Chunnu.
In the written answer, Momen said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and other agencies of the government are working together to get the ban withdrawn and prevent such bans in the future.
The Bangladesh Embassy in Washington continues to maintain round-the-clock communication with the US State Department. As per their advice, the foreign ministry is taking immediate steps.
The ministry is also coordinating regularly between the Rab, legal aid agencies, law ministry and the Bangladesh mission in this regard.
Highlighting the steps taken by the government to withdraw the ban on Rab, the minister said, "I spoke to US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on the phone immediately after the ban was imposed. At that time, there was an open discussion about how Bangladesh and the United States will work to lift the ban.
"Later, on his invitation, I visited Washington and held a bilateral meeting. In the meeting, Bangladesh's position on the ban on Rab and the development of the human rights situation in Bangladesh were highlighted."
Momen said, during that visit, a meeting was held with various individuals including senators and congressmen. "I requested their support in lifting the ban. I also emphasised the need for the formation of the Congressional Bangladesh Caucus."
During a meeting, Assistant Foreign Minister Donald Lu, who visited Bangladesh recently, especially praised the current activities of Rab, he added.
Momen said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington, along with legal aid organisations, have continued strong diplomatic efforts to lift the ban on Rab.