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AL committed to holding free, fair election: Dhaka to US

Published : 15 Jan 2023 10:23 PM

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said that he conveyed to the visiting US assistant secretary that the current government is committed to holding “free, fair and transparent polls” as Awami League believes in “ballots not in bullets”.  

He also informed the US side that the Awami League government has ensured voters photo ID, the transparent ballot box, and set up a powerful independent election commission to make the election free and fair.   

He said Dhaka is ready to take any good suggestions from the US if those are people’s welfare-oriented.

He made those comments after his meeting with visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Donald Lu.

After the meeting, Dr Momen told journalists that they had discussed all major issues, including labour and human rights, “constructively without any reservation”.

“We had a very good discussion on all issues without any reservation … we are very happy that we came under consensus largely,” he said.

Dr Momen termed the US as an old friend of Bangladesh for the last 50 years and said they discussed how Dhaka and Washington would make the ties more meaningful and closer in the next 50 years.

“We are looking for better days in future,” he added.

The foreign ministry in a statement said Lu met Foreign Minister Dr Momen, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam, and Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen on Sunday in separate meetings.

During the meetings, they discussed the entire gamut of bilateral and political issues of mutual priorities between Bangladesh and the USA.

They discussed a wide range of bilateral issues of mutual interests including trade and investment, development cooperation, defence, security, indo-pacific strategy, labour, human rights and democracy.

Both sides also discussed the issue of forcibly displaced Myanmar nationals including their repatriation and resettlement.

Lu deeply appreciated Bangladesh’s humanitarian gesture extended towards over a million Rohingyas.

He lauded the progress made by the law enforcement agencies particularly Rapid Action Battalion in their performances.

Both sides acknowledged the current trajectory of excellent bilateral relations and wished to explore new avenues and approaches to increase bilateral economic cooperation and trade.

Lu was highly appreciative of Bangladesh’s success in vaccinating the entire targeted population and Bangladesh thanked the US for providing more than 100 million vaccines.

The US expressed their interest to work collectively in case of any such future crisis.

Both sides agreed to continue maintaining this tie to enhance cooperation in other sectors while maintaining the mutually inclusive partnership.

Referring to the tremendous socio-economic development in Bangladesh since independence, Ambassador Lu committed US Administration’s continuous support and cooperation for all future endeavours.

Foreign Secretary Ambassador Masud Bin Momen hosted a luncheon in honour of the visiting dignitary where a number of academicians, researchers, think tanks, and senior officials from government and civil society were present.

In addition, Lu met Law Minister Anisul Huq, Home Minister Asaduzzaman Khan, and Private Industry and Investment Adviser to Prime Minister Salman Fazlur Rahman.

From the US side, US Ambassador Peter Haas and Staff Officer William Sidebar were present in the meeting.

From the Bangladesh side, Secretary (Maritime Affairs Unit) Rear Admiral (Retd) Md. Khurshed Alam, Bangladesh Ambassador to the US Muhammad Imran, Secretary (West) Shabbir Ahmad Chowdhury, Directors General and other officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were present in different meetings.