Russia, UK contact Dhaka over nerve attack issue


The governments of Russia and the United Kingdom have contacted Bangladesh over the nerve agent attack on former Russian double agent Sergei Skripal and his daughter in the English city of Salisbury on 4 March.

Russia conveyed to Bangladesh its position over the 'attempt-to-kill' incident through a diplomatic note to Bangladesh government on 22 March. The UK discussed the matter with the Bangladesh officials.

Diplomats said the UK high commission in Dhaka discussed the issue with the Bangladesh authoruities on 15 March, seeking Dhaka's impartial role in Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW).

Bangladesh’s ambassador in the Netherlands Sheikh Mohammed Belal, who is also a permanent representative at the OPCW, is the chairperson of executive council of the OPCW, which investigates into chemical attack.

Russia, US and UK are also members of the council.

Sheikh Mohammed Belal told Prothom Alo over phone that UK prime minister Theresa May has already sent a letter to the director general of the OPCW Spanish ambassador Ahmet Üzümcü on 14 March.

Asked about possible timeline of the investigation, Belal said fixing a deadline is impossible as the issue is "a very technical one".

“The whole process of OPCW is a very technical thing, so there is no political relation with it.”

He also said a team led by the director general will carry out the investigation. “The investigation report will be handed over to the council once it is done.”

Belal said it is the authority of the council whether the findings of the investigation will be made public.

“If any of the council members requests the council not to publish the matter, it won’t be published,” he added.

Almost 150 Russian diplomats have so far been expelled from 24 countries, including the US and tge UK, around the world since 4 March nerve attack on Sergei Skripal and his daughter.

Earlier in a press statement, the Russian embassy in Dhaka condemned the expulsions of Russian diplomats.

* This report, originally published in Prothom Alo print edition, has been rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam.