Amid criticism for not attending the Victory Day programme at Savar, the European Union envoy yesterday said they had to skip the programme for an urgent meeting, but no disrespect was intended for Bangladesh at all.
“We had a very busy week, and unfortunately we had to work on a public holiday here, the Victory Day. I would like to make it clear that we would never intend any disrespect to Bangladesh, or to the people of Bangladesh and freedom of Bangladesh,” William Hanna, head of the EU delegation to Bangladesh, told a select group of reporters.
About not sending observers for the January 5 parliamentary polls, Hanna said they made the decision when it became clear that the majority of seats were already decided without the voters having voted. “Then it became clear…there'll be no point of observing the polls and sending EU observers.”
The absence of necessary conditions for a transparent, inclusive and credible election compelled the EU to halt the decision on sending an Election Observation Mission to Bangladesh, he added. “I'm saying we stand ready to deploy observers when the conditions are right.”
Clarifying the EU's position on holding the meeting on Monday morning, he said it was quite an important decision which was taken after a lot of considerations in Bangladesh.
He mentioned: The EU had to send a report to 28 capitals of its member states and Brussels urgently. “So, people can understand that position.”
The EU diplomats in Dhaka did not attend the Victory Day programme at Savar citing a reason of their urgent “coordination meeting” on Bangladesh's current situation. But they joined the reception hosted by President Abdul Hamid at Bangabhaban in the afternoon.
On Friday, the EU decided to halt for now the preparations for the deployment of an Election Observation Mission in Bangladesh as main political parties here could not create the necessary conditions for transparent, inclusive and credible elections.