Dhaka ready to send troops if Makkah, Madinah attacked

United News of Bangladesh | Published: 18:15, May 18,2017


Bangladesh has reiterated its position over the much-talked about Saudi-led Islamic coalition saying Dhaka will remain ready to send troops to the Kingdom if the security of the two holy mosques is threatened.

Foreign minister AH Mahmood Ali made the remark at a press conference at the foreign ministry on Thursday focusing on prime minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from May 20-23.

‘It’s a bit premature to call it a coalition. It’s still evolving. Nothing is done in written yet. It’s still under discussion,’ he said.

The foreign minister said Bangladesh will extend necessary support and troops, if requested, considering people’s respect, love and devotion for the two mosques — Al-Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) in Makkah and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (the Prophet's Mosque) in Madina.

Minister Ali maintained that Bangladesh is talking about center — Global Centre for Combating Extremist Thoughts — not coalition.

He said the prime minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia to attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh will help make ties between the two countries stronger.

The visit will also play an important role in improving relations with other participating Muslim countries, Mahmood Ali said.

Earlier, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the custodian of the two holy mosques, invited the prime minister to join the summit to be hosted by his country.

US president Donald Trump, among others, will attend the summit to mark his first visit to the Kingdom since he assumed the office as the 45th US president in January last.

Asked about any possible meeting with Donald Trump and other leaders on the sidelines, the foreign minister said, ‘Let’s see.’

The prime minister is expected to highlight Bangladesh’s recent success in combating terrorism and extremism at the summit and its position against this global problem, said the foreign minister.

On May 12, Saudi speaker Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh during a meeting with foreign minister Ali mentioned about the upcoming Arab Islamic American Summit to be held in Riyadh on May 21 and hoped that the leaderships of the Muslims will engage constructively to ensure peace and stability in the region.

Saudi Arabia termed the summit to be held ‘historic’ saying united under a single vision - Together We Prevail - this highly anticipated event, the first of its kind in history, will renew their mutual commitment to global security and further strengthen already deep business, cultural and political ties.

State minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam and foreign secretary M Shahidul Haque were, among others, present at the press conference.

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