Thursday May 25, 2017 09:52 PM

‘Foreigners still fearful of Holey Artisan-like attacks’

  • Published at 03:08 PM May 16, 2017
  • Last updated at 08:44 PM May 16, 2017
‘Foreigners still fearful of Holey Artisan-like attacks’
Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mikael Hemniti WintherCourtesy

Denmark was among one of the first countries to recognise the independent Bangladesh in February 1972

Danish Ambassador to Bangladesh Mikael Hemniti Winther has said that foreign citizens are still restricting their movements in Bangladesh as they feel there is still a risk of the Holey Artisan attack repeating itself.

“We still have lot of restrictions on our own movement. We assess risks on a regular basis, and believe we are still at risk even 10 months after the attack,” said the ambassador at a discussion on Bangladesh-Denmark relations organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents’ Association of Bangladesh at the National Press Club on Tuesday.

The ambassador also said the foreigners are satisfied with the initiatives taken by the Bangladesh government in terms of security arrangements since the July 1 attack at Holey Artisan Bakery in Gulshan, Dhaka.

“I can name 140 countries which are currently at risk of being attacked by militants. Even my home country of Denmark is at risk. Different countries have are susceptible to different levels of threats.”

He said foreigners are “mentally, emotionally and psychologically” comfortable in Bangladesh since there has not been any similar attack since.

Once a country to aid, now to trade

The Danish ambassador then proceeded to praise Bangladesh, saying the country has made remarkable progress in terms of reducing the number of people living below the poverty line since its independence.

The Danish ambassador said: “Bangladesh is slowly turning to a trading partner rather than an aid partner. The two-way trade between Bangladesh and Denmark has doubled since 2011.”

He added saying the partnership between Bangladesh and Denmark go back a long way, reports UNB.

Denmark was among one of the first countries to recognise the independent Bangladesh in February 1972.

He said: “Export from Bangladesh Denmark is dominated by garment industry which makes up 92% of total import value from BD.

“Other export is ocean going ships, frozen food, agricultural products, jute goods, chemical products, fish and fishing related products etc.”

On the other hand, Bangladesh imports dairy products and milk powder, which accounts for 38%, pharmaceuticals 33% and industrial machinery 19%.

The ambassador also said that more than 70 Danish companies have established their business in Bangladesh in the form of either FDI or Joint Venture or setting liaison office in Bangladesh.

Mikael Hemniti said bilateral relations between the countries have been further strengthened with the opening of the first ever Bangladeshi embassy in Copenhagen last year.

“Establishing this new embassy will no doubt play an important role in enhancing the bilateral relationship between our countries and hopefully facilitate increasing trade between as well,” he added.

Regarding Denmark’s help to Bangladesh people for improving income and food security, the ambassador said: “Denmark is a longstanding development partner of Bangladesh. We believe in an inclusive, pro-poor and sustainable growth approach as well as promotion of human rights.”

He also emphasised on sharing expertise, knowledge and technology from Danish experts within the area of green growth that can benefit Bangladesh.

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