British FM phones Mahmood Ali over airport security
Published: March 19, 2016 8:21 pm
19 March 2016, Nirapad News: British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond has called up his Bangladesh counterpart AH Mahmood Ali and discussed the Dhaka airport security issue, the foreign ministry says.
The UK has banned direct cargo flight from Shahjalal International Airport citing security concerns, according to a news agency.
The foreign ministry said the telephone conversation took place at 9.30pm Bangladesh time.
Mahmood Ali briefed Hammond about the British-Bangladesh joint efforts to shore up security at Shahjalal International Airport.
Bangladesh’s premier airport came under spotlight in the West in recent months when the Islamic State reportedly claimed the responsibility for several killings in Bangladesh and a Russian jet was ‘bombed’ in terror attack in Egypt.
The UK government on Mar 8 said its recent assessments of the Dhaka airport found that some international security requirements were not being met.
It also said as ‘interim measures’, cargo on direct flights from Dhaka will not be allowed until further notice.
The decision evoked sharp reactions from the local business groups as the UK is one the largest trading partners of Bangladesh.
The government has fired the secretary to the civil aviation and tourism ministry and the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh.
It has begun the process of appointing a British firm to take care of the airport security issues.
Ali, during the phone call, told Hammond that the government had taken “development plan” to enhance the airport security.
And discussions to sign MoUs with the civil aviation safety companies ‘Red Line’ and ‘Restrata’ were at the final stage.
Hammond welcomed the move and said the UK would also consider lifting the cargo flight ban.
He hoped direct passenger flights from Dhaka would not be affected considering the new ‘development plan’ and the “historic” relations between the countries.
They agreed to continue the ongoing cooperation, according to the foreign ministry.