Visa restriction not to take sides, but to ensure fair Bangladesh polls: US State Dept spokesperson
Washington, Sept 26: US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that the United States announced the visa policy not to take any side but to ensure free, fair and peaceful elections in Bangladesh.
Miller said this at a regular press briefing at the US State Department on Tuesday (September 26).
He said, "In May, the United States announced the visa policy. Its objective then was to ensure free, fair and peaceful national elections in Bangladesh. This policy was never announced to favor anyone.”
He added, "Visa ban has been imposed on members of the law enforcement agencies, members of the ruling party and political opposition parties."
"The US has not announced the names of individuals on the visa restriction list because visa records are confidential," Matthew Miller added.
When Miller was asked about the BNP issuing a 48-hour ultimatum to the government for the release and overseas medical treatment of their party chairperson former Prime Minister Begum Khaleda Zia, the US State Department spokesman denied to comment on the matter.
On September 24, the US ambassador to Dhaka, Peter Haas, said, "The country's media may also come under the US visa restrictions."
Earlier on September 22, the US State Department said, "US visa restrictions on Bangladeshis have begun."
"These restrictions include law enforcement agencies, members of the ruling party and members of the opposition political party," the State Department said in a statement.
However, the State Department did not disclose the names of the individuals subject to the visa ban.
The United States announced a new visa policy for Bangladesh on May 24 this year. It clarifies the country's continued monitoring of free, fair and peaceful elections. The visa policy states that the United States will not grant visas to those responsible or involved in obstructing the democratic election process in Bangladesh.
The United States informed the Bangladesh government of this decision on May 3.