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Foreign missions will get alternatives services of Ansar: FS

Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen on Tuesday said the government will offer the services of the Ansar – a paramilitary auxiliary force – to the foreign missions in Dhaka as alternatives as the withdrawal of “additional escort services” for four diplomats came into effect, reports UNB.

Talking to reporters, the foreign secretary said they are likely to hold a meeting with the Director General of the Ansar on Wednesday to know about the facilities they can offer and build a connection with those missions who are willing to take this service.

“We will talk to Ansar and will let the missions know officially,” Masud Momen said, adding that additional escort was mainly used for traffic clearance purposes.

Responding to a question, the FS said the government is aware of the responsibilities as a host country under the Vienna Convention and regular security measures for foreign missions and their personnel remain unchanged.

Momen said they don’t see any security deficit in the country and militancy and the law and order situation is fully controlled.

He also said there is shortage or constraint of police personnel.

Asked about using flags by the diplomats in their vehicles, he said this is something that depends mainly on individual’s discretion and he thinks the diplomats have the sense where they will use flags or not.

Sharing his own experience as a diplomat, Momen said there were no systems to use flags when he was in New York but in many countries flags are used while attending any state function.

“If I go to a market or a personal event of a colleague I will not use the flag at that time. It depends on the individual.”

Earlier, Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday said, “If they (foreign missions) want it, they can get it on payment. We won’t provide this extra (security) escort service with taxpayers’ money.”

“In developed countries, no government provides such extra facilities,” the foreign minister said.

The minister said there has been no deterioration of the law and order situation that such service is required.

The United States has said the safety and security of their diplomatic personnel and facilities are of utmost importance.

“So, I’m not going to get into the specifics about security details concerning the U.S. embassy or its personnel,” Vedant Patel, principal deputy spokesperson for the US Department of State, said during a press briefing on May 15 (US time) at the State Department while responding to a question.

He, however, noted that as per the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, any host country “must uphold its obligations to ensure the protection of all diplomatic mission premises and personnel and take all appropriate steps to prevent any attack on personnel.”

Patel made the remarks after Bangladesh decided not to provide additional security escorts for a number of foreign diplomats, including the US and UK envoys, in Dhaka.

He said the United States is looking forward to deepening relationship and cooperation with Bangladesh on a number of key issues, “regardless of political party or candidates.”