US denies Hasina-Biden talks at G-20 summit as Momen claimed, concerned over oppression of journos

Russia should not talk about other country imposing dictates: Miller

Russia should not talk about other country imposing dictates: Miller

M Mushfiqul Fazal, State Department correspondent 

Russia, a country that has invaded two of its neighbours and is prosecuting an aggressive war where it bombs schools and hospitals and apartment buildings on a daily basis, should not be talking about any other country imposing dictates, the US State Department Spokesperson Matthew Miller has said.

He said this at a briefing at the US State Department on Tuesday in response to a question from journalist Mushfiqul Fazal on recent remarks made by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during his Dhaka trip.

Lavrov, during a joint media briefing with Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen at the Hotel InterContinental in Dhaka on September 7, said Moscow would prevent any attempt to establish dictates and interference by the US and its allies in this region.

“If we look at the situation and analyse it, we can clearly see that the US and its allies are truly trying to promote their interests in the region by using the so-called Indo-Pacific strategy. Their goal is clearly both to counter China and to isolate Russia in this region,” Lavrov said.

Asked about this, Miller said, “It a fairly - it’s not the most self-aware comment that Sergey Lavrov has ever made. But I would say that with respect to United States policy, that the United States and Bangladesh share a vision to ensure the Indo-Pacific region is free and open, connected, prosperous, secure, and resilient. That's the intent of our Indo-Pacific strategy and that is our position.”

Responding to a question by this correspondent whether Bangladesh PM and US president, as claimed by foreign minister AK Abdul Momen, had had a warm conversation on G20 sidelines though there was no readout or anything from the White House or from the US State Department, the US State Department spokesperson Miller said he has not acknowledged the conversation between Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina and United States president Joe Biden on the sidelines of the recently concluded G20 Summit.

The spokesperson said, “I believe the White House did make public the meetings that the president had with other leaders.”

Talking to reporters on Tuesday, Bangladesh foreign minister Momen claimed that “the US president Joe Biden lauded Bangladesh’s progress in various sectors under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina as they had a warm conservation on the sidelines of the recently concluded G20 Summit.”

Responding to another question on the sentencing of senior journalists Shafik Rehman and Mahmudur Rahman for seven years and seizure of the property of another journalist Elias Hossain now exiled in New York, Miller said they have said on a number of occasions that journalists play an essential role in any democracy.

“Their work uncovers corruption, safeguards the public's right to know information that affects their lives. They need to be able to make the public aware of the issues that they face in their daily lives,” he said.

Journalists need to ensure accountability for elected officials, the state department spokesperson added.

He said, “They must be able to do their jobs without fear of harassment, violence, or intimidation. And we are concerned with the government of Bangladesh’s systematic and pervasive oppression of journalists and media personalities who attempt to hold the government accountable.”