No Dhaka envoy for Berlin for two years
The Bangladesh embassy in Berlin is without an ambassador for nearly two years.
Germany is surprised that a developing country like Bangladesh kept its embassy without an ambassador since January 15, 2008, diplomatic sources said.
Apparently, half the delay occurred due to non-issuance of visa for domestic help of a diplomat assigned for the post. The other half is due to sheer negligence of the foreign ministry and the government, sources said.
Earlier this year, the former German Ambassador in Dhaka while making a courtesy call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Foreign Minister Dipu Moni had drawn their attention to the post in Berlin, which had been vacant for over a year by then.
Both the PM and the foreign minister told the German envoy that the government was set to immediately appoint a senior and efficient diplomat as Bangladesh Ambassador in Berlin. But till date, nothing happened other than selecting a diplomat for the job.
Foreign ministry sources said the Fakhruddin-led caretaker government appointed former additional secretary (UNCLOS, Research & ICT) MAK Mahmud as the Ambassador to Germany on June 29 last year.
Mahmud did not go to Berlin although the German government had approved his appointment.
Earlier on June 12, 2007, Mahmud was appointed as the ambassador to Bahrain, but he did not join that post either.
Sources said he was apparently unhappy when the German embassy in Dhaka refused to issue visa for his domestic help as per Germany's immigration law. The embassy informed him that they would issue visa for one domestic help from Bangladesh after he (Mahmud) takes charge in Berlin and send a request letter from there as per the provision.
With the installation of Awami League government in January, instead of joining the post Mahmud began hectic lobbying to become foreign secretary. But his move proved to be a boomerang when he was made Officer on Special Duty (OSD) in June and sent into forced retirement.
Subsequently, Mahmud's appointment to Germany was cancelled and the foreign ministry nominated former Bangladesh high commissioner to UK Gyash Uddin as the new ambassador to Berlin on contract.
Gyash also has not joined the post.
Foreign ministry sources said if Gyash Uddin does not take up his diplomatic assignment, it would be deemed very discourteous and make the German government very annoyed.
Some foreign ministry officials told The Daily Star that Gyash Uddin was reluctant to join the Berlin post arguing that this posting is a demotion for him because he had served as the high commissioner in London during the previous Awami League government.
During the previous AL rule between 1996 and 2001, Gyash was made high commissioner to UK while he was serving in the rank of a joint secretary. But senior diplomats or politicians normally fill this post. Later he went into retirement.
Foreign ministry officials said past governments appointed diplomats of the rank of secretary as ambassador in Berlin, but Gyash Uddin retired from service as a joint secretary level official. The German government is apparently not happy with this appointment.
Germany is the second largest importer of Bangladeshi products and its import bill came to around $2.5 billion in the last fiscal year.
The country has been a reliable partner of Bangladesh in development cooperation since 1972. An overall amount of 2.4 billion Euro in bilateral financial and technical cooperation has been committed by Germany so far.
Since 1978 the German development assistance is given exclusively as grants. Germany is contributing to the development cooperation of the European Union and other multilateral institutions like the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and the UN-Organisations working in Bangladesh.