Diplomats should apply their sense of responsibility: FM

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Dhaka, Jan 30: Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday expressed displeasure against foreign diplomats for what he said interference in Bangladesh’s domestic affairs saying they should follow the code of conduct and apply their sense of responsibility.  “They (diplomats) should have their sense of responsibility. We expect that they’ll follow their sense of responsibility,” he told reporters after attending a function in the city.

The Foreign Minister said Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has directed all concerned to have a ‘model’ election without any interference from the government.

“We’ve a very fair and judicious system. We’re very transparent. Our election will be a very transparent one,” he said adding that diplomats stationed in Dhaka in some cases made too much of interferences in domestic issues going beyond their own duties which is very regrettable.

The Foreign Minister said the Election Commission will decide who will go (to observe polls) and who aren’t. “We’ve a code of conduct. Diplomats do have, too.  We expect they’ll work as per the code of conduct.”

Asked what action will be taken if they violate the code of conduct, Dr Momen said in that case they will tell them (diplomats) to leave.

Earlier, British High Commissioner to Bangladesh Robert Chatterton Dickson hoped that there will be a “free and fair” contest in the elections to the two city Dhaka city corporations where people will be able to cast their votes in a “festive and peaceful” atmosphere.

He said he will be joining other colleagues in the diplomatic community here 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).

Elections to both the Dhaka North City Corporation (DNCC) and Dhaka South City Corporation (DSCC) will be held on February 1.

High Commissioner Dickson said he met all four mayoral candidates and had good discussions with the Election Commission, and noted that a level-playing field is crucial. “I’m very pleased.”

He said that this is going to be a big democratic practice and hoped it will remain free from violence noting that violence should not be part of democratic process anywhere, including in Bangladesh.

The High Commissioner said this is duty of the diplomats to talk to people and know what is going on in the country.