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August 1, 2004 

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US refuses to give diplomatic status to press minister
The government is in an embarrassing situation over the appointment of a Bangladeshi-born US citizen as minister (press) at the Bangladesh embassy in Washington as the US government has refused to give him diplomatic status. US law does not allow its citizens to serve as diplomats of other countries. A couple of months back, the information ministry on instruction from the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) appointed US citizen Golam Arshad as minister (press) because of his close political links to a powerful circle in the government, sources mentioned.
It is surprising that papers relating to his appointment passed through at least seven stages without being detected that Arshad is a US citizen holding passport of that country. Arshad had come to Dhaka in April and obtained a Bangladeshi diplomatic passport concealing that he holds US passport, sources said. But the US embassy did not grant him visa against the diplomatic passport as it identified him to be a US citizen. He then returned to US and started working at the Bangladesh embassy. But the situation became complicated as the US government did not give him diplomatic status and also prohibited his entry to State Department and other government offices, sources in the foreign and information ministries said. The information ministry is now going to decide whether the minister (press) will continue in his job without diplomatic status or his appointment will be cancelled.

Source: The Daily Star.

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