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Bangladesh Foreign Minister doesn't accompany PM Hasina to India due to illness

By FnF Correspondent | PUBLISHED: 05, Sep 2022, 17:25 pm IST | UPDATED: 05, Sep 2022, 17:27 pm IST

Bangladesh Foreign Minister doesn't accompany PM Hasina to India due to illness Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen did not accompany Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to India due to "illness", officials said on Monday, amidst reports here that he was dropped from the list of entourage at the eleventh hour due to his unwarranted remarks in the recent past. Prime Minister Hasina left for India on Monday on a four-day state visit during which she would meet the country's top leadership to further cement the multifaceted relationship and ink at least seven bilateral agreements in areas like water management, railway and science and technology.

He (Momen) is feeling unwell. He didn't go with the Prime Minister," an official was quoted as saying by the UNB wire service on the 75-year-old veteran leader. Momen, who briefed the media on Sunday afternoon at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs about the Prime Minister's visit to India, was scheduled to accompany her.

Talking to reporters, Education Minister Dipu Moni said that anyone can be dropped from the Prime Minister's entourage due to Covid-19 precautions. She said that "before meetings with Prime Minister Hasina or attending Parliament sessions, they are always anxious over Covid-19 tests wondering whether they will test positive."

When asked for comments over Momen's exclusion due to "illness", she said, "Choice of words is a dangerous thing. You said (Momen has been) dropped". If you know the reason, you can say whether he was "dropped' (from the PM's entourage) or he couldn't go due to a certain reason."
 Citing foreign ministry sources, Prothom Alo newspaper said that the name of foreign minister was excluded from the list of entourage members of prime minister at the eleventh hour.

On condition of anonymity, several officials of the ministry said through his unwarranted remarks at different times the foreign minister has drawn criticism, the paper reported. It said that at a Janmashtami programme in Chattogram recently, Momen stated that "during my visit to India I told them that Sheikh Hasina must be kept in power.

The comment stirred criticism among political parties, netizens, and people. The remarks, made just before the summit of two prime ministers, also created unease among the officials, the paper said. It is apprehended that the foreign minister was excluded from the prime minister's entourage list for this, the paper added.

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