Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali said Bangladesh has reiterated its position over the much-talked-about Saudi-led Islamic coalition saying Dhaka will remain ready to send troops to the Kingdom if the security of the two holy mosques is threatened, reports UNB.
He made the remarks at a press conference at the Foreign Ministry on Thursday focusing on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from May 20-23.
“It’s a bit premature to call it a coalition. It’s still evolving.Nothing is done in written yet. It’s still under discussion,” he said.
The Foreign Minister said Bangladesh will extend necessary support and troops, if requested, considering people’s respect, love and devotion for the two mosques — Al-Masjid al-Haram (the Sacred Mosque) in Makkah and Al-Masjid an-Nabawi (the Prophet’s Mosque) in Madina.
Minister Ali maintained that Bangladesh is talking about center — Global Centre for Combating Extremist Thoughts — not coalition.
He said the Prime Minister’s visit to Saudi Arabia to attend the Arab Islamic American Summit in Riyadh will help make ties between the two countries stronger.
The visit will also play an important role in improving relations with other participating Muslim countries, Mahmood Ali said.
Earlier, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, invited the Prime Minister to join the summit to be hosted by his country.
US President Donald Trump, among others, will attend the summit to mark his first visit to the Kingdom since he assumed the office as the 45th US President in January last.
Asked about any possible meeting with Donald Trump and other leaders on the sidelines, the Foreign Minister said, “Let’s wait and see.”
The Prime Minister is expected to highlight Bangladesh’s recent success in combating terrorism and extremism at the Summit and its position against this global problem, said the Foreign Minister.
On May 12, Saudi Speaker Dr Abdullah Bin Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh during a meeting with Foreign Minister Ali mentioned about the upcoming Arab Islamic American Summit to be held in Riyadh on May 21 and hoped that the leaderships of the Muslim Ummah will engage constructively to ensure peace and stability in the region.
Saudi Arabia termed the Summit to be held ‘historic’ saying united under a single vision - Together We Prevail - this highly anticipated event, the first of its kind in history, will renew their mutual commitment to global security and further strengthen already deep business, cultural and political ties.
The foreign minister also said journalists will face no obstacle during their travel abroad and performing professional duties there.
He, however, said it is necessary to monitor whether anybody is doing anything while travelling abroad that goes against the country’s image and interest.
He came up with the remarks when a senior journalist wanted to know about an official communication urging the Bangladesh missions abroad to monitor Bangladeshi journalists travelling abroad to check their activities that might go against the country’s interest and image.
“I didn’t see it (instruction note). I’ll look into it. No journalist will face any barrier. If anybody does, let me know,” said the Foreign Minister.
The Foreign Minister said all should support government’s effort to check whether anything is being done abroad against the country’s interest.
The Foreign Ministry on Wednesday conveyed the decision to heads of missions abroad.
“If anybody’s involvement is found against the interest and the image of the country, she/he must be identified and their such negative activities must be reported back to Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately,” the source said quoting the message sent to the Bangladesh missions.
The Foreign Ministry requested the heads of missions abroad to take up the matter ‘seriously’ so that Bangladeshi journalists, whenever travelling to the respective host countries, should be monitored to unearth their activities.
Earlier, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Ministry of Foreign Affairs observed that any Bangladeshi journalist travelling abroad should be monitored and reports in this regard be sent back to Ministry of Foreign Affairs if their activities are found against the country’s interests.
The Standing Committee expressed its concern over the negative activities of Bangladeshi journalists abroad since such activities give wrong information on Bangladesh in the international arena, reads the document signed by Director General, External Publicity Wing Md Lutfor Rahman.
State Minister for Foreign Affairs M Shahriar Alam and Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque, were present, among others, at the press conference.