Vol. 5 Num 263 Tue. February 22, 2005  
Front Page

Dhaka to consider mission in Baghdad

Bangladesh will consider reopening its mission in Baghdad and joining the reconstruction work with the installation of a new government in Iraq and full security assurance from them.

The Bangladesh mission was temporarily shut down after the war on Iraq got off to a blitzkrieg start in March 2003. Since then, diplomatic functions have been conducted from neighbouring Jordan.

"We're watching the developments following the elections in Iraq. If we are welcomed by the new Iraqi government and given full security assurance--which is important for us--we will consider reopening our mission," Foreign Minister M Morshed Khan told the news agency yesterday.

He said the Bangladesh mission in Baghdad was never shut down, it was temporarily suspended because of law and order at the time.

In reply to a question, Khan said Bangladesh will be happy to take part in the reconstruction of Iraq in a conducive environment.

Before 1990, he mentioned, around 2.5 lakh Bangladeshis had been employed in construction of roads and infrastructure in Iraq.

Asked about any development in rescheduling the stalled Saarc summit, the foreign minister said, "I think the incumbent Saarc chair, Pakistan, is in discussion with member-countries to find a convenient date for the summit. But we've not yet received any formal request to host the summit."

The scheduled February 6-7 summit of the seven-nation forum was put off after India expressed their inability to attend it, citing political developments in Nepal and "security concerns" in Dhaka.