The foreign minister says the diplomats should have a sense of responsibility
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday warned that if the diplomats violated their code of conduct during the Dhaka city elections, they would be asked to leave.
Speaking at an event in the city, he expressed displeasure against foreign diplomats for what he said was interference in Bangladesh’s domestic affairs, saying they should follow the code of conduct and apply their sense of responsibility.
“They [ the diplomats] should have their sense of responsibility. We expect them to follow that,” he told reporters after attending a function in Dhaka.
The foreign minister said the Election Commission would decide who will observe polls and who will not. “We have a code of conduct. Diplomats have it, too. We expect they will work as per the code of conduct,” he added.
The foreign minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had directed everyone concerned to have a “model” election, without any interference from the government.
“We have a very fair and judicious system. We are very transparent. Our election will be a very transparent one,” he said.
He further added that, in some cases, diplomats stationed in Dhaka interfered in Bangladesh’s domestic issues too much, going beyond their own duties, which is regrettable.
Asked what action will be taken if the diplomats violate the code of conduct, Dr Momen said they would tell the diplomats to leave.
Earlier on Thursday, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson expressed hope that there would be a “free and fair” contest in the elections to the two city corporations in Dhaka, where people will be able to cast their votes in a “festive and peaceful” atmosphere.
He said he would be joining other colleagues in the diplomatic community to see a democratic process and how the election goes.
The British high commissioner made the remarks while talking to reporters at his residence to discuss the UK’s withdrawal from the European Union (EU).
High Commissioner Dickinson said it is the duty of the diplomats to talk to people and know what is going on in the country.
He further added that he had met all four mayoral candidates and had a good discussion with the Election Commission, and noted that a level-playing field is crucial. “I am very pleased.”
The high commissioner said this was going to be a big democratic practice and hoped it would remain free from violence.
Elections to Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) is scheduled for Saturday.