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No threat, we’re prepared, new minister says

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Staff reporter

New State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam on Monday said they did not consider anything as a ‘threat’ to its march forward as it maintains friendly relations with the international community.

“We don’t consider anything as a threat…we’re prepared for it (any future barriers),” he said indicating that there is something behind-the-scene ‘quiet diplomacy’.

The new State Minister also said the presence of diplomats at Sunday’s oath-taking ceremony proves that they have full support for this government. “Or else, they (diplomats) would have skipped it.”

Alam, who was looking very confident, came up with the remarks at his first press meet at the Foreign Ministry when reporters sought his comment on how the government will move forward amid the widespread criticisms by the international community about the polls results.

He said the government would reply to any criticism in the international forum with facts, figures and proper evidence. “They (BNP-Jamaat) have no moral right to do politics for what politics they’re doing now. It matters little whether the party (BNP), the chief of which attended only parliament for only eight days out of its 400 working days, joined the election or not.”

On war crimes trial, Alam said as the country is at a ‘crossroad’ and now it is the responsibility of all concerned to correctly portray things related to the issue.

He said though there have been conspiracies from both home and abroad to block the trial process, the government would be able to overcome the future resistance the way it did while executing the first one with the support of all, especially the young generation.

Responding to another question, Alam said there is no tradition that every country will have to make phone call to congratulate a new government.

On restoration of GSP facility in the US market, he said, “That’s a challenge. (But) I would say it’s a matter of time now only to get that back. It’s my personal belief. We’ll also give priority to increase business in the European market.”

The new State Minister said the government would give priority to make Bangladesh missions abroad more business-friendly for boosting trade ties with Bangladesh.

He also expressed his optimism over the settlement of the long-pending Land Boundary Agreement (LBA) and Teesta Water sharing deal. “I’m still hopeful. I don’t want to be pessimist. I hope it (Teesta) will be done soon.”

Asked about his priority in short-term, the junior minister mentioned about the pending result of the maritime boundary dispute with India. The outcome of the case is likely to be available by the middle of this year.

Responding to another question, the State Minister said, “Hopefully, we’ll have a full-fledged minister within a next couple of weeks.”

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and DG (External Publicity) M Shameem Ahsan were also present.