Bangladesh is not a colony anymore, Momen tells foreign diplomats

The foreign minister speaks about diplomats overstepping the rules in light of the Japanese ambassador's comments on election fraud

Published : 21 Nov 2022, 12:28 PM
Updated : 21 Nov 2022, 12:28 PM

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said foreign diplomats are “expected” to adhere to their code of conduct amid discussions over their comments on the parliamentary election.

During a recent event in Dhaka, Japanese Ambassador Ito Naoki reportedly said he had heard claims that “police officials were stuffing ballot boxes on the eve of election day” and that he had never heard of anything similar in another country.

The Bangladesh government then summoned Naoki, apparently to remind him of a Vienna convention that bars envoys from commenting on any country’s domestic affairs.

Speaking at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday, Momen said ambassadors needed to remember that Bangladesh was “not a colony anymore”.

Drawing from his experiences as a professor and diplomat in the United States, Momen mentioned that foreign diplomats’ views on the domestic affairs of a nation were not desired in other countries.

“Journalists would come to me for my opinion on internal matters [of the US] in my teaching days but not when I became a permanent UN representative of Bangladesh,” he said.

“It’s woeful that many of our people seek opinions on our internal issues from foreign governments. Although they are our guests, their experience in these things is lacking compared to Bangladeshis.”

Asking the comment-seekers to “change their ways”, he said: “Foreign diplomats make a comment when they are forced.”