The US Embassy in Dhaka were unwilling to make any comment on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s statement that the US played a negative role concerning the 5 January election and the financing of Padma Bridge. However, they claimed that relations between the two countries are stronger than ever before.
At a press conference held last Friday at Gonobhaban, the prime minister said that the US had tried its utmost to prevent the 5 January election. She also said the financing of Padma Bridge had been stopped at the directives of the US secretary of state at the time.
When asked for a response regarding the PM’s remarks, Monica Shie, the US embassy spokesperson in Dhaka, told Prothom Alo through e-mail that in the interests of the people of the two countries, America’s partnership with Bangladesh was more intense and stronger than ever before.
The spokesperson said the US stand on the 5 January elections was known to all. The new US ambassador Marcia Bernicat has said the same at the senate hearing. During her recent visit to Bangladesh, US assistant secretary of state Nisha Desai Biswal also said that the people of Bangladesh would decide when the next election would be held.
As for the PM’s remark, the US spokesperson advised that the prime minister’s office be contacted in that connection.
Imtiaz Ahmed, teacher of international relations at Dhaka University, told Prothom Alo, “The US’ response to the prime minister’s comment is diplomatically correct. They referred to the people’s interests in highlighting the importance of relations between the two countries. During the caretaker government, the US had the same stand. Then too, the US had urged for the schedule to be fixed and for it to be held with the participation of all parties. The US has questions about the 5 January election as all parties did not join in. There has been no change in this stand over the past one year.”