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Foreign diplomats in Dhaka worried about demos in diplomatic zone

Publication Date : 25-12-2013


Foreign diplomats in Dhaka are deeply worried about the security of the diplomatic enclave, and the safety of their staff and foreign citizens, students and volunteers residing in Bangladesh.

They conveyed their concerns to the government yesterday when Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali briefed two groups of diplomats at state guesthouse Padma on recent political programmes, such as demonstrations and processions in the diplomatic enclave, said meeting sources.

Mahmood Ali assured the envoys that the government was pledge-bound by the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations of 1961 to ensure the safety and security of all diplomatic missions, foreign cultural centres, residences and schools during this critical period preceding the election in Bangladesh, according to a foreign ministry press release. 

The foreign minister will hold a meeting with envoys of European nations on December 30. On Monday, he briefed diplomats from Saarc and Asean countries.

Envoys of the USA, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Korea, Brazil, Russia, Norway and the Vatican and the UN resident coordinator called on the foreign minister in the morning.

One of the diplomats made mention of the recent demonstrations, including the one by Gonojagoron Mancha, that paraded through the diplomatic zone, said meeting sources.

In reply, the foreign minister told them that security had been tightened recently in the diplomatic zones in Gulshan and Baridhara.

US Ambassador Dan Mozena, Canadian High Commissioner Heather Cruden, South Korean Ambassador Lee Yun-young, Australian High Commissioner Greg Wilcock and Japanese Ambassador Shiro Sadoshima spoke at the meeting, said the sources.

Voicing concerns over the security of South Korean citizens in Bangladesh, Lee Yun-young said a Korean national was kidnapped recently.

Though freed later, the abductee was beaten up badly. Another Korean citizen also fell prey to mugging.

The Canadian high commissioner wanted to know about the recent remarks by top ruling party leaders, who talked about the 11th parliamentary polls even before the holding of the 10th general election.

The foreign minister refrained from giving any reply.

Most of the diplomats didn't show any interest in the January 5 national election, meeting sources said.

In the afternoon, ambassadors and heads of missions from member-states of the OIC met the foreign minister at the state guesthouse.

Apart from expressing security concerns, they called for calm and restraint to sustain peace and stability in Bangladesh.

The foreign minister told them that the government was determined to thwart any threat to public security and the stability of the state, said a press release of the foreign ministry yesterday.

The heads of the missions expressed satisfaction at the additional security measures in the diplomatic zones in Gulshan and Baridhara, it said.



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