Foreign secretary summons US Ambassador Miller

Ministry of Foreign Ministry
Prothom Alo illustration

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen has summoned US ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R. Miller after the US treasury department and state department imposed sanctions on seven current and former officials of Rapid Action Battalion (RAB).

The US ambassador was summoned on Saturday morning, Masud Bin Momen confirmed Prothom Alo.

Earlier, on Friday, US state department slapped sanctions on current inspector general of the Bangladesh Police and former director general of RAB, Benazir Ahmed, and former commanding officer of RAB-7 Miftah Uddin Ahmed.

The US state department in a press statement said Benazir and Miftah have been sanctioned “for their involvement in a gross violation of human rights, namely the May 2018 extrajudicial killing of Teknaf city municipal councilor Ekramul Haque in Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar District, Bangladesh.”

In a separate move on the same day, US treasury department imposed sanctions on six current and former officials of RAB including Benazir Ahmed for “human rights abuse”.

That means, a total of seven officials have been sanctioned by two different departments of the US government.

"Foreign secretary Momen expressed Bangladesh’s disappointment that the decision was taken unilaterally by the US Administration without any prior consultation with the Government of Bangladesh," a foreign ministry press release said.

"Foreign Secretary regretted that the US decided to undermine an agency of the government that had been on the forefront of combating terrorism, drug trafficking and other heinous transnational crimes that were considered to be shared priorities with successive US administrations," the foreign ministry press release adds.

Momen emphasised that the government of Bangladesh remained committed to upholding the rule of law and human rights, and maintained a ‘zero tolerance’ approach to any wrongdoings or aberrations by its law enforcement agencies.

The foreign ministry press release said that US ambassador Miller took note of the concerns raised by the Bangladesh, and assured of conveying the same to his Capital.

He concurred that the excellent multifaceted relations between two countries could be further deepened through established consultation mechanisms and high level visits, the press release adds.

Earlier, in another programme at Foreign Service Academy in the capital on Saturday afternoon, foreign minister AK Abdul Momen said ambassador Miller has been summoned and asked about the sanctions.

Momen said the US administration’s imposition of sanctions on seven former and current RAB officials is unfortunate.

US ambassador himself is surprised by the slapping of sanctions on RAB officials, the foreign minister added.