US envoy's response
I was surprised by your editorial of July 17, which implied that foreign diplomats should not talk to politicians. In my role as a diplomat in Bangladesh, I need to understand the issues of the people and the government here. The only way to understand is to communicate, to listen and question the person on the street as well as the leaders of the government and political parties.
Recently, I have spoken to Imams studying English, had tea with political party leaders, enjoyed frank and lively discussions with madrassa secondary students, met with rising Bangladeshi leaders in various fields who have recently returned from studying abroad, and discussed multilateral issues with foreign diplomats based in Dhaka.
I travel outside the capital to hear the views of Bangladeshis and see, with my own eyes, the issues that are dominating their lives. I will use the knowledge I gain in these conversations to help ensure that my Embassy's activities support the US goals of democracy, development, and denial of space to terrorists.
Let me assure you that this is neither insidious nor unusual. Bangladeshi diplomats in the United States and elsewhere communicate regularly with the politicians of the nations where they are stationed. If they did not do so, they would be failing in their duties.