• Friday, October 24, 2014

Govt lied over PM's UK visit

Staff Correspondent

The BNP yesterday accused the government of distorting the British prime minister's remarks on Bangladesh's January 5 election during a recent meeting with Sheikh Hasina in London and warned that such an attitude may hamper the country's ties with foreign nations and organisations.

Speaking at a press conference at BNP chief Khaleda Zia's Gulshan office, party's Vice-Chairman Shamsher M Chowdhury said spreading falsehood about the statements of foreign friends and international organisations is devoid of diplomatic norms as it creates confusion.

"There is a strong possibility that Bangladesh's ties with foreign countries and international bodies can be affected due to such an attitude of the government," he said.

The government's "lies" about British premier David Cameron's remarks had forced his office to issue a statement on the meeting, Shamsher alleged.

"Issuance of such a statement from the British prime minister's office on the meeting with a foreign country head [Sheikh Hasina] is quite unusual," he said.

Shamsher added: "Bangladesh's foreign minister has claimed David Cameron had told Hasina, 'The election is over. It's in the past. Now we look forward to the future.'

"But the Downing Street spokesperson's statement on the meeting proved that the government had resorted to lies."

Talking about Hasina's meeting with the UK premier, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said the British government wanted to strengthen ties with Bangladesh to help it take its development course to new heights.

"The election is over. It's past. Now we look to the future. We want to work with your [Bangladesh] government and strengthen the ties," he quoted Cameron as saying at the meeting.

A 10 Downing Street spokesperson in a statement about the meeting said the British PM has expressed disappointment over the January 5 election in Bangladesh and laid emphasis on an open society and political system in which democratic political participation and media freedom are respected.

"The PM noted our disappointment over the January 2014 Bangladesh election with more than half of the constituencies uncontested," the spokesperson said.

Regarding the foreign minister's remarks, Shamsher said the government was continuously trying to ignore the concern of different foreign countries about the country's one-sided and controversial January 5 election.

The BNP leader alleged the government had earlier spread lies by saying that Ban Ki-moon had criticised the BNP for boycotting the January 5 election when President Abdul Hamid called on the UN secretary general in New York recently.

Shamsher noted that the UN later issued a statement saying that the UN chief, during the meeting with the president, had expressed dissatisfaction over the Bangladesh national election and stressed the need for holding a fresh one through dialogue with different political parties. 

The BNP leader also claimed the stance of the UK, USA, European Union and other countries is still the same as their earlier position on the January 5 election.

Meanwhile, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, at an iftar party yesterday, claimed that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had visited London at the invitation of the Girl Summit 2014 organisers, not the British government.

But the foreign minister had said the PM went to London at the invitation of the British government, which is totally false, he said. 

Spreading this kind of false information is similar to committing crime, he added.

Published: 12:00 am Sunday, July 27, 2014

Last modified: 8:11 pm Sunday, July 27, 2014

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