Sunday, January 12, 2014

Ambassadors to attend cabinet swearing-in ceremony

Interestingly, it appears that Western government ambassadors will be attending the swearing-in ceremony of the new Cabinet today.

The US embassy Dhaka Spokesperson, Kelly McCarthy said that the US ambassador will be attending, though she said his presence does not affect the US view about the lack of credibility of the elections themselves. She said that that the US does not recognise governments, as such, but only countries. This is the statement she gave me:
It is not a question of America’s recognizing or accepting the government that was just sworn in. America recognizes the country of Bangladesh, and that has not changed. America’s commitment to supporting the people of Bangladesh remains undiminished.

In regard to the elections themselves, we have already made clear our disappointment with the elections, which in our view did not credibly reflect the will of the Bangladeshi people since almost all of the seats to the new parliament were either uncontested or had only token opposition.

We urge the government and the BNP to engage in immediate dialogue to find a way forward to hold as soon as possible elections that are free, fair, peaceful and credible, reflecting the will of the Bangladeshi people.
Another European diplomat has also confirmed that its ambassador is going

The British High Commission spokesperson (rather snootily?)  emailed that he couldn't 'comment on the High Commissioner’s programme'.

Another diplomat explained that his ambassador would be attending as a 'diplomatic courtesy.'

The presence of the diplomatic community at the oath swearing-in ceremony will certainly send a message - whether the diplomats like it or not - that their governments accept the credibility and legitimacy of the ensuing parliament.

Perhaps in diplomatic terms the the ambassadors had little choice in the matter. If countries want to deal with Bangladesh, which of course they do, they have no choice really but to accept the legitimacy of the government - even if they remain rather critical of the way the government was elected.

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