Diplomats are “happy” over the post Jul 1 security measures in Bangladesh, but still feel the risk of terrorist attacks remains.
“In terms of risk assessment, we still feel the risk. We still have restrictions on our movement,” Danish Ambassador Mikael Hemniti Winther said on Tuesday while interacting with diplomatic correspondents in Dhaka.
The Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) hosted its flagship ‘DCABtalk’ with him, the first of this year.
Winther joined Dhaka mission in September from Bangkok, and presented his credentials in October, just months after the terror attack in an upscale cafe at Gulshan which killed 17 foreigners.
Later, in an interview with bdnews24.com in January, he said the Jul 1 terror attack could not distract Denmark from its development activities in Bangladesh and he planned deeper engagements with Dhaka.
During the ‘DCABtalk’ on Tuesday, he said they are comfortable “mentally, emotionally and psychologically” since there had been no similar attacks since then.
But, he said, the feeling is that foreigners still face risks from terrorist threats.
He, however, generalised the risk concerns by saying that he can name 140 countries where there are risks at different level, except some countries where there are “good intelligence”.
The diplomatic relations between Dhaka and Copenhagen started immediately after the independence of Bangladesh in 1971.
Denmark was one of the first European countries to recognise independent Bangladesh and open a mission in Dhaka in 1972.
The relations have recently been strengthened through the signing of a three-year Strategic Sector Cooperation and five-year development cooperation between the countries.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali also visited Denmark last year when the two countries agreed to continue working together for mutual interest including green growth, climate change, development and trade and investments.
The ambassador said Bangladesh has made “remarkable progress” in terms of poverty reduction and socio-economic development.
Denmark is one of the leading development partners of Bangladesh, giving support to many sectors including water, sanitation, agriculture, human rights and development.
Bilateral trade is heavily in favour of Bangladesh with Dhaka enjoying duty-free market access of all products except arms.
Readymade clothes is the main export item, with Bangladesh now looking for markets for other traditional items like pharmaceuticals, ceramics, and leather goods.
The ambassador said their current development programme for Bangladesh has been formulated to respond to Bangladesh’s overall development priorities as reflected in the ongoing seventh five-year plan.
He also shared Danish experience of green growth as Denmark is globally acclaimed for its expertise in green issues. It is the first country in the world to set the ambitious target of replacing fossil fuel with renewable energy by 2050.
DCAB President Rezaul Karim Lotus and General Secretary Pantho Rahaman conducted the interaction at the Jatiya Press Club.