Bangladesh Embassy in Washington was informed of travel ban against former army chief beforehand: Foreign minister

Date:

TBS Report

21 May, 2024, 01:50 pm

Last modified: 21 May, 2024, 03:04 pm

Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud speaks at a “meet the reporters” programme organised by Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) on Tuesday, 21 May 2024. Photo: TBS

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Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud speaks at a “meet the reporters” programme organised by Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU) on Tuesday, 21 May 2024. Photo: TBS

The Bangladesh Embassy in Washington was informed by the US State Department about the upcoming travel ban against former army chief General Aziz beforehand, Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud said today (21 May). 

Speaking to reporters at an event at the Dhaka Reporters Unity, he also said the United States had issued a travel ban against the former army chief, not a visa ban as was previously known. 

“The sanction was made under Section 7031(c) of the US Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act,” he said.

Answering journalists’ questions, he said, “We have ongoing communication with the United States. Bangladesh is working together with the United States in areas such as combating corruption, counterterrorism, and human rights. We will continue to do that.”

Mahmud also said the government had a zero-tolerance policy against corruption.

“Many members of the Awami League have been imprisoned for corruption. Measures have also been taken against many members of the ruling party. We are working with the United States on issues of corruption and in other areas.”

Regarding the government’s next steps regarding the travel ban, he said, “This is a matter concerning the military. As it concerns the military, I do not want to comment on it right now.”

The US Department of State yesterday (20 May) announced a sanction on General Aziz Ahmed, previously Chief of the Bangladesh Army Staff, due to what it says was his involvement in “significant corruption”.

This action renders Aziz and his immediate family members generally ineligible for entering the United States.

His actions have contributed to the undermining of Bangladesh’s democratic institutions and the public’s faith in public institutions and processes, the US State Department said.

“Aziz Ahmed engaged in significant corruption by interfering in public processes while helping his brother evade accountability for criminal activity in Bangladesh,” said the US Department of State. 

Aziz also worked closely with his brother to ensure the improper awarding of military contracts and accepted bribes in exchange for government appointments for his personal benefit, it claimed.

“This designation reaffirms the US commitment to strengthening democratic institutions and rule of law in Bangladesh,” said the US government.

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