No base plan, B’desh to get US naval ship as gift

The United States will officially hand over a naval ship to Bangladesh on May 26 through a reflagging ceremony in California.
Seventh Fleet commander vice admiral Scott H Swift on Sunday said the US Navy is trying to build a constant relation with its Bangladesh counterpart to ensure the freedom of navigation for both sides in the area, rather than building a new base anywhere around.“It’s about places, not bases that we’re interested in. Having new bases has little value… what we’re looking at is to build a constant relations through maritime exercises and engagements,” he said this at a media roundtable at American Centre.
Swift, however, noted that the US Navy is keen on maintaining the ‘general presence of the Seventh Fleet in the region’.
It is equally important for both navies to ensure that the norms and rules of the international seas are maintained in the Bay of Bengal to keep intact the freedom of navigation, he said.
Asked whether Washington is persuading Dhaka for signing the Acquisition and Cross-Servicing Agreement proposed by the US in 2006, the vice admiral passed the question to the US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena, saying “We want to be guided by the policy of both the governments.”
Mozena categorically denied the speculation about the signing of the deal. “There is no negotiation for such agreement,” he said.
Sought comments on the current political situation, Mozena said: “We expect that the people of the country will focus their interest on all the questions that unites, not divides Bangladesh.”
“The most important thing for Bangladesh is that it’s a pluralistic country, it’s a moderate, a tolerant country,“ Mozena added.
He noted that it is important for a democracy to ensure that “people have the right to peacefully express their views, while other people have rights to peacefully express possible differences”.
Mozena also stressed that the expression of dissents should not involve violence. UNB

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