PM for review of UK cargo ban


Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina yesterday wrote back to her British counterpart David Cameron and requested a review of the ban on direct air cargo from Dhaka to London.

In reply to Cameron's March 8 letter to her, Hasina also wished to work together with the British government on meeting all the global security requirements of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

In his letter, the UK PM called for a visible improvement of airport security by March 31 to avoid further measures like banning of direct passenger Biman flights from Dhaka to London.

Contacted over the phone, a diplomat at the Bangladesh High Commission in London around 9:00pm (Bangladesh time) confirmed that Hasina's letter has reached Cameron.

Earlier, diplomatic sources in Dhaka and London said Bangladesh government had instructed its UK Mission to ensure that the letter reaches the British Prime Minister's Office, 10 Downing Street, in the quickest possible time.

Sources at the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) and foreign ministry said Hasina signed the letter to Cameron yesterday morning and sent it to the UK prime minister immediately through the Bangladesh High Commission in London.

They added the prime minister in her letter expressed hope that the UK government will consider the request and look into the matter with utmost sincerity.
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 “The reply of our prime minister was very simple and short in compare to the size of the UK Prime Minister's letter,” said a source.

Hasina has mentioned that the Bangladeshi authorities are strictly addressing the British observations regarding the entire aspect of airport security.

SECRETARY REMOVED

Meanwhile, the government yesterday removed Khorshed Alam Chowdhury from the post of   civil aviation and tourism secretary.

SM Golam Faruk, a member of Planning Commission, has replaced Khorshed, according to a circular of the public administration circular.

Earlier on Sunday, Air Vice-Marshal Ehsanul Gani Chowdhury was made the new chairman of chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (Caab). He has replaced Air-Vice Marshal M Sanaul Huq.

Officials at the ministry said Khorshed and Sanaul have been removed as they failed to play due role in meeting the global security requirements of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.

“The changes in the top two positions were made following intelligence report on the activities of the secretary and the Caab chairman since October last year when the issue of upgrading the security standards of Shahjalal airport came up,” said an official wishing not to be named.

“The ban on [Dhaka-London] direct air cargo has a huge political impact and the country's image has been tarnished abroad,” he added.

He also said Khorshed Alam, who has now been made a member of the Planning Commission, is supposed to retire in the next few months.

source : the daily star

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