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Brexit to affect Dhaka-London ties in different ways, says top UK diplomat

  • Published at 01:40 am April 25th, 2019
Permanent Undersecretary of UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Simon McDonald
Permanent Undersecretary of UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office Sir Simon McDonald speaks at a public lecture on Bangladesh-UK relations in Dhaka on Wednesday UNB

There is already turbulence in UK, the diplomat says  

The relationship between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom will be affected in different ways due to Brexit, Permanent Under Secretary of British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Sir Simon McDonald said on Wednesday, noting that it would be very good if London left the European Union with a deal.

The worst will be to leave the 28-member powerful bloc without a deal, he added.

The UK permanent undersecretary made the statement while responding to queries from the audience after delivering a public lecture titled “Bangladesh and United Kingdom’s relations in the context of UK’s exit from the European Union,” organized by Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) in Dhaka.

The senior British diplomat further said the uncertainty surrounding Brexit had already caused “turbulence,” and more issues were likely to arise.

“The relationship will be affected in different ways. But our intention, no matter what happens, is to have a good relationship with Bangladesh, which in my view is the easiest if we are leaving the European Union with a deal,” he said when asked what impact Brexit with a good deal and a bad deal might have on Bangladesh-UK relationship. 

“The best would be to leave with a deal. In my view, the worst is to leave with no deal, because if we leave with no deal, we will still need a deal with our neighbours, and this will take lot of our time,” Sir McDonald said.

If Britain can leave the EU with a deal, it will take less time to negotiate with its neighbours and more time can be dedicated to the countries outside of EU, he said.

About the current situation regarding Brexit, he said: “There is already turbulence. There will be [more] turbulence.

The UK treasury has already downgraded the country’s growth rate, he said.

Striking a note of optimism, Sir McDonald said once Brexit was delivered, Britain would be able to engage with all non-EU countries in a more productive manner.

Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Shahidul Haque was present at the event, where BIISS Chairman Munshi Faiz Ahmed and BIISS Director General Maj Gen AKM Abdur Rahman spoke as well, among others.