Dipu Moni blasts media reports
Foreign Minister Dipu Moni yesterday slammed a section of the media for publishing reports on her “frequent” trips abroad in the last four and a half years.
“This is an orchestrated campaign against me…I have no idea about the motive behind this smear campaign. But I can say this is a campaign against an honest politician,” she said.
Referring to a particular newspaper report on her 187 foreign trips and 600 days of overseas stay in the last four and a half years, she argued that the reports were published without caring about facts, which goes against the concept of fair and courageous journalism.
Addressing a press conference at her ministry, Dipu Moni said she went abroad every time with the consent of the prime minister, who gave her approval after studying the pros and cons of every visit.
Contradicting the figure published in a Bangla daily on July 17, the foreign minister said she made 114 foreign tours, including 36 with the president and the prime minister.
She claimed that the number of her bilateral visits was 62, not 17 as reported. Of the multilateral visits, 28 were to the UN, seven on Non-Aligned Movement programmes, eight for various Commonwealth programmes and six for meetings of the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group, of which she is the chair for one term.
Besides, she visited countries to attend Saarc summits and other meetings, ARF Ministerial Meeting, Shangri-La Dialogue, OIC and Asia Cooperation Dialogue (ACD).
She said she stayed 517 days overseas, including her flight time and stopover at airports, which is 31 percent of 1,660 days since her first official visit. (This means, in every three days she stayed one day overseas.)
But according to newspaper reports she spent 600 days abroad from February 1, 2009 to July 10 this year.
About the comparison of her visits with those of the US secretary of state, Dipu Moni said she did not want to comment on such association.
But she added the US secretary of state travelled by her official jet aircraft, but even the prime minister of Bangladesh had to take commercial flights.
“The reports are untrue, fabricated, baseless and motivated,” she said, adding: “I don't know the motive of this campaign against the country's foreign minister.”
In an oblique reference to Manabzamin, Dipu Moni said the foreign ministry had sent a rejoinder to the daily concerned but the paper did not publish it with due importance.
“I will do whatever is needed to establish my right as a citizen,” she said in an emotional voice.
She also highlighted some achievements, including winning the maritime boundary case against Myanmar, taking a lead role in establishing peace in South Asia, establishment of BIMSTEC secretariat in Dhaka, receiving awards for success in MDGs and leading the climate vulnerability forum and Dhaka's election to more than 20 UN bodies.
Dipu Moni also claimed that Bangladesh had been able to establish the best of relations with the USA, Russia, China, the European Union, East Asian nations, Japan, Korea and Australia with expansion of trade and investment.
“Had the foreign minister been sitting idle, these successes would not have come," she said.