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Has the US ambassador fled Bangladesh amid threat of pre-election violence?

US ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas

The Bangladesh State Minister of Foreign Affairs, Shahriar Alam on Monday expressed regret over the departure of the US Ambassador Peter Haas amid the announcement of the general elections in the country and called it “unfortunate”.
This comes after certain reports in Dhaka claimed that politicians from the ruling party allegedly threatened the US Ambassador regarding his perceived interference in the elections. However, the State Minister denied these allegations, asserting confidence in the country’s ability to provide adequate security for foreign guests like the ambassador.
“I have a responsibility. All the ambassadors who are posted here are our guests and we are supposed to look after them. Provide them with high security as much as they are also responsible for offering the interests of Bangladeshi diplomats abroad. We know for sure where he is, it’s all his speculation. It’s unfortunate we shouldn’t be discussing all this. But I’m not supposed to disclose his location, it, personal information and its official information. But we know,” the minister told ANI.
Following the announcement of the election date by the election commission, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas is reported to be leaving the country. Bangladesh is set to hold its general election on January 7.

Sources in Bangladesh informed ANI that the current status of the US Ambassador to Bangladesh reveals he is presently in Sri Lanka.
Minister Shahriar further discussed the US visa restrictions, emphasizing that those who do not comply with the law ahead of Bangladesh’s general election could face a denial of visas by the United States.
“The advice is self-explanatory but we don’t like it… But we respect any country’s decision and I am sure our hope is really that the new visa policy will stop BNP and Jamaat from repeating the atrocities they committed in 2014, But unfortunately, it has failed, so the new visa policy did not help the process at all, so it has to be reviewed by the US.” he told ANI.
The US Department of State had announced to impose visa restrictions on Bangladeshi individuals “responsible for, or complicit in, undermining the democratic election process in Bangladesh”.
The United States has condemned the political violence that took place in Dhaka in last month in October and said that it will be “reviewing all violent incidents for possible visa restrictions.” It called for calm and restraint on all sides.
Taking to violent incidents for possible visa restrictions.”The statement of the US Department of State comes after a police officer and a political activist were killed during the clashes between the BNP and police.
The US Embassy in Dhaka called for calm and restraint on all sides. Taking to is violence against civilians, including journalists. “We call for calm and restraint on all sides. We will be reviewing all violent incidents for possible visa restrictions.”

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