World, Asia - Pacific

Bangladesh not to be part of Saudi-led armed struggle

Upcoming defense deal with S. Arabia doesn't mean Bangladesh will join Saudi-led war in Yemen, says top diplomat

Bangladesh not to be part of Saudi-led armed struggle

By Md. Kamruzzaman

DHAKA, Bangladesh 

Bangladesh will not take part in any Saudi-led military operation in anywhere including Yemen, its top diplomat said on Wednesday.

"Bangladeshi military will take action only in case of an attack on the two sacred mosques in two sacred cities -- Mecca and Medina," Bangladesh's Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen told reporters.

He was referring to the Kaaba, the most sacred monument of Islam, in Mecca and al-Masjid al-Nababi, the mosque of Prophet Muhammed in Medina, as two sacred mosques, when he was speaking at a press briefing on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's maiden overseas tour to Germany after resuming office for third consecutive term.

On Feb. 4, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia agreed to sign a defense deal to enhance military cooperation while Bangladesh's army chief Aziz Ahmed was on a tour to visit the newly-built Bangladesh mission in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

Once the deal is signed on Thursday, Bangladesh will deploy some 1,800 troops in Saudi Arabia to defuse and remove mines along war-torn Saudi-Yemen border.

Momen said the deal does not mean that Bangladesh is going to join the Saudi-led war.

Bangladesh will just work on removing mines along the Saudi-Yemen border as part of its commitment to any peacebuilding process, he added.

Among the members of a Saudi-based Islamic military coalition comprised of 34 states to combat terrorism, Bangladesh has more than two million workers in Saudi Arabia.

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