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BD Foreign Minister briefed the Ambassadors of the EU countries

Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, MP briefed the Ambassadors of the European Union countries and the Head of Delegation of the European Union in Bangladesh on the current political situation in the country. The briefing was organized as part of the Foreign Minister’s regular consultations with the Ambassadors and Heads of Mission based in Dhaka.

The EU Ambassadors expressed their appreciation for the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s message sent immediately in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris. They reaffirmed the EU’s shared vision of democracy with Bangladesh, and underlined their interest in further deepening the EU’s trade, economic and humanitarian assistance for Bangladesh.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister thanked the European Union Ambassadors for their cooperation in adding further depth and dimension to Bangladesh’s diplomatic relations with the European Union. He referred to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s dynamic diplomatic engagements over the last one year, including her meeting with a number of European leaders during the Girls’ Summit in London in July 2014and the ASEM Summit in Milan in November 2014.

The Ambassador of the Delegation of the European Union expressed concerns over the ongoing violence, particularly loss of lives and property. He urged the need for containing such violence in a manner that it should not impinge on the democratic space and freedom of assembly, expression and media.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister referred to the European Parliament Resolutions on Bangladesh of 16 January and 18 September 2014 condemning such violence and terrorist acts, and their call for ban on political parties resorting to such acts. European Parliament resolution on 16 January 2014 states: “whereas the BNP opposition is continuing to cooperate with Jamaat-e-Islami and the splinter group Hafezat-e-Islam, which are regarded as the main instigators of the violence”…“Strongly condemns the killings and widespread violence which erupted throughout the country in the run-up to and during the January 2014 elections, especially attacks on religious and cultural minorities and other vulnerable groups; expresses serious concern at the paralysis of everyday life in Bangladesh on account of strikes and blockades …”…“Believes that in the interest of Bangladesh’s future, parties having a democratic reputation need to develop a culture of mutual respect; urges the BNP to unequivocally distance itself from Jamaat-e-Islami and Hafezat-e-Islam”… “Stresses that parties which turn to terrorist acts should be banned”…”Acknowledges that, despite its considerable shortcomings, the International Crimes tribunal has played an important role in providing redress and closure for victims of and those affected by the Bangladeshi war of independence”.

European Parliament resolution on 18 September 2014 states: “Commends the Government of Bangladesh for the progress made towards achieving the Millennium Development goals, which has resulted in significant real-life improvements for millions of its citizens; further acknowledges the fact that these improvements were made under difficult domestic circumstances, including the constant threat of violent attacks by radical groups such as the BNP-affiliated Jamaat-e-Islami party”…”strongly condemns violent attacks by opposition groups against both civilian and government targets; calls on opposition groups to engage only in peaceful protests”. Bangladesh Foreign Minister said that the Government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina remained committed to upholding the democratic rights of the people, provided all political parties shunned the path of violence and terrorism, and used the democratic space in a responsible manner.

In this context, Bangladesh Foreign Minister referred to the recent High Court Division Order asking the Government to prohibit the publication or broadcast of any statements and messages by the BNP Senior Vice-Chairman Tarique Rahman as long as he remained a fugitive in the eyes of law.

Foreign Minister referred to the recent media reports regarding a telephone call made by the President of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Amit Shah,to Begum Khaleda Zia, and a statement issued by six US congressmen expressing their concern over the recent political situation in Bangladesh, and said that upon inquiry both have been found to be absolutely false.This has established beyond any doubt that the BNP-Jamaatalliance took refuge in falsehoodin their attempts of “Goebbelsian Hypocrisy”.

Bangladesh Foreign Minister expressed his sadness at the shooting of Ambassador Reaz Rahman, Advisor to the BNP Chairperson, by miscreants on 13 January 2015. He said that the Government would ensure thorough investigations into the incident and has already instructed the Dhaka Metropolitan Police to remain seized with the matter.

He also informed that since neither Mr. Rahman nor members of his family agreed to file a case, the Police on its own volition filed a case in this regard. The EU Head of Delegation said that Bangladesh had the EU’s abiding support in combating terrorism.

The EU Ambassadors expressed their collective resolve to further strengthen, enlarge and reinforce the partnership between Bangladesh and the EU. Foreign Minister assured the EU and other European Ambassadors of continued cooperation and sought their sustained support in delivering development mandates of the Government, to which the Envoys responded positively.

Foreign Minister later briefed the Ambassadors of other European States- Russia, Norway, the Holy See and Switzerland along similar lines.

During the briefing, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, Md. ShahriarAlam, MP, and Foreign Secretary, Md. ShahidulHaque were present.

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