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Dhaka defends its position over Crimea

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Staff reporter
Bangladesh has done the right thing by abstaining from voting in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on Crimea issue as it has not deviated from its foreign policy, State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam clarified on Tuesday.
“Being a G77 member-country and being a member of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), we don’t take specific side on any country’s internal issue. We haven’t deviated from that policy. That’s why we abstained from voting,” he told reporters at the Foreign Ministry.
Earlier on Thursday, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution on Crimea which Bangladesh has abstained from.
The resolution, which passed with 100 votes in favor, 11 opposed, and 58 abstentions, represents the world’s general opinion on the matter of Ukraine’s territorial integrity and Russia decision to seize Crimea.
The United States regretted Bangladesh’s abstention from joining the large majority regarding the resolution adopted by the UNGA on Crimea issue while Russia appreciated Bangladesh’s position.
When his attention was drawn to it, Shahriar Alam said they do not have any ‘headache’ which country is happy or unhappy over Bangladesh’s position. “With our position, a country can be happy or another country can be unhappy. We’ don’t bother about it.”
On Monday, US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena said, “I regret that Bangladesh was not able to join the majority on that important issue.”
The diplomat said he saw the vote which was very large vote. “…but it makes clear that the international community doesn’t accept the occupation…the annexation, I should say, by Russia of Crimea.”
On Sunday, Russian Ambassador in Dhaka Alexander A Nicholaev at a country lecture program expressed satisfaction over Bangladesh’s abstention from the UNGA resolution.
The envoy claimed that joining of Crimea with Russia was not an issue of ‘annexation’, rather a ‘reunification’ one.
The citizens of Crimea chose to be part of Russia and the West was playing a double standard in this regard, he also said.
Nicholaev also said a referendum was held in Crimea on March 16 in full compliance with democratic procedures and international norms.
More than 82 percent of the electorate took part in the vote. Over 96 percent of them spoke out in favour of reuniting with Russia. These numbers speak for themselves, the diplomat said quoting the Russian President.

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