Bangladesh FM expects foreign envoys to maintain protocol, norms

Diplomatic Correspondent | Published: 14:21, May 09,2020 | Updated: 00:22, May 10,2020


Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Saturday strongly criticised a section of foreign diplomats who made statements expressing the need for upholding freedom of expression and independence of the press in Bangladesh.  

‘It is out of diplomatic norms,’ the foreign minister told the media in a video massage made available from the foreign ministry.

Eight foreign ambassadors and missions in Bangladesh stressed the need, in separate but almost similar statements made through social media on Thursday, for upholding independence of the press and freedom of expression to disseminate facts-based information during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

‘I have not seen ambassadors make statements in a group anywhere,’ Momen said. ‘It is regrettable.’

Had the ambassadors felt the need to make any allegation or to push any agenda, they could inform it to the foreign ministry, said the minister.

‘Instead of doing that, they have engaged in political rehearsal with making public statement,’ Momen alleged. ‘Will they engage in politics here? Will they contest in the elections in this country?’

The minister said that the diplomats could rather make a call to stop the ‘war in Rakhine’ [of Myanmar]. 

Describing the ambassadors as knowledgeable people, Momen said that he did not expect the statements from them.

The ambassadors making the statements were Earl Miller of the US, Charlotta Schlyter of Sweden, Sidsel Bleken of Norway, Winnie Estrup Petersen of Denmark, Harry Verweij of the Netherlands, British High Commissioner Robert Dickson, Head of European Union delegation Rensje Teerink.

They made the statements in separate tweets.

The High Commission of Canada also made a similar statement on Thursday.

The diplomats made the statements in the context of the arrest of several people by Bangladesh law-enforcement agencies and filing cases against them under the Digital Security Act, an ambassador of a European country told New Age.

Want stories like this in your inbox?

Sign up to exclusive daily email