Bangladesh is a sovereign nation and it decides its own foreign policy, says Dr AK Abdul Momen
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen has expressed his displeasure over the remarks made by Yousef SY Ramadan, the Palestinian ambassador in Dhaka, on the omission of the words “except Israel” from Bangladeshi passports.
The minister was talking to reporters at the Foreign Service Academy in Dhaka on Tuesday, reports Bangla Tribune.
“It doesn't make a difference to us what an ambassador, or anyone else for that matter, says [on the issue],” Dr Momen told the media.
Bangladesh was a sovereign nation and it decided its own foreign policy, he added.
It may be recalled that it was recently confirmed that Bangladeshi passports would no longer bear the caveat, “valid for all countries of the world except Israel”, in order to maintain international e-passport standards.
Ambassador Yousef SY Ramadan earlier termed the omission of the words “unacceptable” and dismissed the claim that the move was necessary to meet global standards.
“Every country has the sovereign right to take decisions on passports or any other issues. Having admitted that, I would say this decision is unacceptable to us,” he told Dhaka Tribune on Sunday night.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has since made it clear that holders of Bangladeshi passports were still banned from travelling to Israel.
Foreign Minister Momen on Sunday said there had been no change in Bangladesh's stance on Israel as it still did not recognize Israel as a country.
The Palestinian ambassador on Monday welcomed Bangladesh’s clarification on the issue, noting that it was "politically good enough", but his country would be happier to see the words “except Israel” in Bangladesh e-passports.