US ambassador to Bangladesh in an unflagged car
After the sudden withdrawal of special security facilities and permanent police escort, this is the first time the US Ambassador to Dhaka, Peter D. Haas, has participated in any of the foreign ministry's demands. Yesterday, he attended a lunch-cum-diplomatic briefing at the State Guest House Padma at the invitation of Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam. The US Ambassador arrived at the venue on time, like other colleagues. But he was a complete exception. Ambassadors, High Commissioners, or Charge d'Affaires entered the venue in ambassadors' cars flying their respective national flags, but US Ambassador Peter Haas arrived in a flagless car. Although he was using the Ambassador Car-1E assigned to him. Neither the police nor the embassy had any protocols of their own on the front or back of the car. But only his gunman was in the car's front seat carrying the ambassador. According to responsible diplomatic sources, Peter Haas was present and attentive throughout the closed-door briefing.
He did not utter a single word in the briefing; avoid any questions! Not even at lunchtime. Other ambassadors, however, spoke highly of the seasonal fruit mangoes served at lunch.
Some also asked about the variety of mangoes served. Several officials present at the event confirmed that the briefing should have mentioned the withdrawal of the round-the-clock police escort of the ambassadors of the United States, Britain, India, and Saudi Arabia stationed in Dhaka. However, the government was fully prepared to answer any questions raised about it. Since May 14th, none of the diplomats, including the ambassadors of those four countries, have been getting permanent or temporary police escort facilities. In a government decision, the special escort facility for the envoys was immediately withdrawn. Minister of Foreign Affairs regarding the withdrawal of escort facilities for ambassadors. AK Abdul Momen said that day that the withdrawal of escorts and the suspension of flag flying on ambassadors' cars was under consideration.
In the name of security, the ambassadors' of 4/5 countries were "exaggerating" on that day, the foreign minister said. AK Abdul Momen said 193 countries have permanent missions in New York. Many of the mission chiefs who perform there are cabinet members of their respective countries. But no one there can even think of going with a police escort. He said, I am a minister, but there is no police escort anywhere. Commenting that people are not killed by attacking the streets or shopping malls in Bangladesh, the minister said there is no difficulty in anyone's movement now. Moreover, developed countries still need to follow these trends.
All in all, we are improving. We need to improve our thinking. We have to come out of the colonial mentality. The United States, Britain, India, and Saudi Arabia were getting this benefit. Many countries, including Australia, wanted this facility.