How Ansar would escort diplomats has been finalised: Foreign secy

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen
File photo

Foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen on Wednesday said how the Ansar forces would provide escort to diplomats has been finalised.

Foreign missions in Dhaka would be informed about the decision through note verbale on Thursday or by next Sunday, 21 May, he added.

The foreign secretary disclosed the information while speaking to newspersons after a meeting with director general of the Bangladesh Ansar and VDP (Village Defence Party) at the foreign ministry in Dhaka.

Speaking to media after the meeting, Ansar and VDP director general Major General AKM Aminul Haque said, “The Ansar is ready to provide escort to the diplomats and the financial issues would be fixed through discussion.”

The Wednesday’s meeting was held two days after the government all of a sudden announced on Monday that it has withdrawn the additional police escort to the diplomats from four countries –USA, UK, India and Japan, leaving diplomats stationed in Dhaka surprised. Diplomats from several missions informed the government about their frustration over the decision on that day.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen previously told Prothom Alo about the decision of the government, “We’ve told them that we are maintaining austerity by various ways due to the economic situation. For that reason, we can no longer continue to provide additional security we currently provide to the envoys.”

According to diplomatic sources, the government has informed the foreign diplomats that regular security to them would be maintained and the additional police escort provided to avoid terrific would not be provided anymore because the situation, in which additional security was provided, has improved. Besides, the government has a lack of police forces.

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Sources said a verbal decision was taken to provide additional security to foreign diplomats after the militant attack in the Holey Artisan Bakery in 2016. Several officials, who was involved in the process or are currently involved, said these decisions were put in place unofficially at various times.

Besides, additional security was provided to the then UK envoy in Dhaka Anwar Choudhury since he came under a grenade attack in Sylhet in May 2004. His successors, however, had been enjoying this privilege.

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