German ambassador unhappy about BNP misquoting him

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Published on April 21, 2022
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Achim Tröster, the German ambassador in Dhaka, has voiced his displeasure about BNP ‘misquoting’ him on the state of human rights and democracy in Bangladesh following his meeting with the party’s leaders last month.

“I was a little bit unhappy about it, because I very much appreciate it if I am asked personally with regard to my own opinions,” he said at an event organised by the Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh at the National Press Club on Wednesday.

"They quoted me as saying that I was concerned about the human rights situation and democracy in the country. It’s not true.”

Tröster met a three-member delegation of BNP led by the party’s Secretary General Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Mar 17.

After the meeting, BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury said issues, including the political situation, upcoming general election and human rights situation, had come up for discussion.

Asked about what the German envoy said about the human rights and democracy in Bangladesh, Amir Khasru said, "Everyone around the world is aware of the human rights situation and democracy in Bangladesh. There is nothing new to say here. As you know, discussions are being held worldwide about these things.”

"They are concerned about these things. They are a part of the global discussion on Bangladesh. Everyone is talking, including the European Union, America and Britain."

A month after the meeting, Tröster said that it was only a courtesy meeting with the BNP.

“We were scheduled to meet with (Amir Khasru Mahmud) Chowdhury only. However, we were also welcomed by the BNP secretary general,” he said.

Referring to the “intensive and fruitful” discussions on bilateral issues and the situation within the country, the German ambassador said: “We have been talking about what is going on here. We have been talking about human rights issues with the government. Commitment to human rights worldwide is one of the pillars of our foreign policy.”

Highlighting the issue of BNP's participation in the forthcoming election, Tröster said, "We wanted to know about the elections. They explained why they were refraining from participating in elections, why they did not take part in past elections, and why they did not change their stance. They also explained their reluctance to participate in the upcoming election."