Regional centre of counter-terrorism in Dhaka next yr
A regional Counter-Terrorism Centre will be set up in Dhaka with financial and technological assistance from European Union to train people across South Asia to combat terrorism.
The international standard centre will start functioning early next year, said Dr Stefan Frowein, ambassador of EU Delegation to Bangladesh.
Talking to The Daily Star and Prothom Alo yesterday, the EU envoy said they will not set up any building for the centre. Renowned counter-terrorism experts from European countries, United States and Canada will train investigators, police and intelligence agency personnel to fight terrorism.
He noted happily that South Asian countries like India and Pakistan agreed with the EU plan to set up the counter-terrorism centre in Bangladesh, which will be the second after the first one in Indonesia.
“We have chosen Bangladesh to host the regional centre considering its strong commitment to eliminate all sorts of terrorism, as well as its support to EU causes in the international fora, including the UN,” said Stefan Frowein.
He said euro 1.5 million was available for setting up the centre in Dhaka. Elaborating, he said security officials, investigators, police officials and intelligence agency people from India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, Myanmar and some other countries will come to Dhaka to have counter-terrorism training.
Earlier, emerging from a meeting of all the nine EU countries' ambassadors and high commissioners with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Frowein said they discussed a wide range of issues including climate change, energy situation, CHT development, human rights and counter-terrorism.
Briefing journalists at the foreign ministry, he said the EU has been strongly supporting Bangladesh's position on climate change, and will be with it. He reiterated EU's stand to support Bangladesh's concern at the COP 16 to be held in Cancun in Mexico next month.
Turning to energy situation, he said European investors are ready to invest in different sectors in Bangladesh, but they (EU investors) always complain about the electricity crisis.
The foreign minister, the envoy said, assured that the electricity situation would start improving early next year. He hoped that investors would definitely come to invest here if they found improved energy situation.
Among otherissues, Frowein said, the EU envoys also discussed with the foreign minister financing the planned centre.
He disclosed that Bangladesh will soon become a member of the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) established in 1996 for deepening relations between Asia and Europe at all levels.
ASEM is an interregional forum comprised of the European Commission, all the 27 members of the European Union, 14 members of the ASEAN and three regional groupings.
The main components of the ASEM process include dialogues on political, economic and security issues, and education and culture. Besides, the forum discussed some international issues on which Bangladesh and EU hold common views at the UN.
Meanwhile, a press release of the foreign ministry said the EU envoys asked for a regular Bangladesh-EU members' dialogue to discuss all issues of mutual concern in a comprehensive manner.
The foreign minister welcomed the initiative and offered her suggestions about the procedure to be followed to institutionalise the process.
At the meeting, the UK offered further assistance in energy development and Denmark offered to assist in setting up a climate change fund.
Dipu Moni thanked the envoys for their assistance offers, welcomed energy assistance especially in renewable energy technology transfer. She strongly reiterated that Bangladesh was in a position to utilise climate change assistance, and called upon the developed countries to fulfil their earlier commitments in this regard.
The meeting, which lasted one and a half hours, was attended by Arturo Perez Martinez, Spanish ambassador; Itala Occhi, Italian envoy; Charley Causeret, French envoy; Alphons Hennekens , the Netherlands ambassador; Rolf Dieter Reinhard, CdA German Embassy; Jan Moller-Hansen, CdA Danish Embassy; Mrs Ylva Sorman-Nath, CdA Swedish Embassy; Nick Low, British deputy high commissioner, and Mrs Tirza Theunissen of the Netherlands Embassy.