Government Policy

Bangladesh remains open to foreign observers in next polls: FM

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Wednesday said Bangladesh would remain open to foreign observers in the next parliamentary elections.

Dr Momen conveyed it to outgoing US Ambassador to Bangladesh Earl R Miller during a farewell meeting at State Guesthouse Padma.

The Foreign Minister also briefed Ambassador Miller on the ongoing Union Parishad elections as well as the City Corporation elections in Narayanganj, underscoring the free and fair nature of the elections and high voter turnout.

They also discussed ways and means for cooperation between the two countries in human rights arena, including through arranging training programmes.

Thanking the USA for being the largest donor to the humanitarian operations for the forcibly displaced Rohingyas, Dr Momen also urged it to participate in humanitarian operations in Bhasan Char in accordance with the Memorandum of Understanding inked with the United Nations.

They discussed ways and means to further enhance the existing excellent bilateral relations between two friendly nations.

Foreign Minister Momen thanked the US Ambassador for his proactive works in Bangladesh during his tenure.

He specially mentioned about the vaccine support Bangladesh has received from the United States.

Bangladesh has so far received 28 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine from the US under the COVAX programme, and would get more in near future.

He also appreciated two countries’ close engagements in climate change issue, and recalled with pleasure the visit of US Special Presidential Envoy John Kerry to Bangladesh in April 2021.

Both sides expressed optimism that a series of dialogues and visits would take place in the coming months as many in-person interactions between the two governments could not take place due to the pandemic.

The Bangladesh Foreign Minister thanked the US Ambassador for facilitating his visit to Washington DC in February 2021, the first by any Foreign Minister to the US Capital after the assumption of the Office by the Biden Administration; as well as for facilitating official visits of Bangladesh Armed Forces Service Chiefs to the United States in 2021.

The Foreign Minister also thanked the US government for responding to his request for assisting Bangladesh in restoring and further developing the coastal embankments in the Southern part of the country.

Mentionable that Foreign Minister Momen wrote a letter to USAID Administrator Professor Samantha Power on this matter, which she positively responded.

As a result, he said, Economic Relations Division, Ministry of Finance, and other relevant Ministries are in the process of commencing a joint feasibility study with the USAID for identifying possible projects for strengthening the coastal embankments in Southern Bangladesh.

Dr Momen also urged the United States to participate in large infrastructure projects in Bangladesh, as this is a priority area for Bangladesh Government.

The US Ambassador, stating that his tenure in Bangladesh has been the best one in his career due to the warm hospitality he has received from the government and the people here, thanked Foreign Minister Momen and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for all cooperation and support rendered to him.

He reiterated the United States’ strong support for the Rohingya issue not only through humanitarian assistance but also for political settlements through repatriation.

Miller also expressed optimism that his successor, having a strong economic background, would substantially contribute towards taking forward the economic cooperation between the two nations further ahead.

He also underscored that the US remains willing to remain closely engaged with Bangladesh on human rights related issues, including through regular dialogues.

Foreign Minister Dr Momen wished Ambassador Miller good health and happiness in his future, and expressed optimism that he would continue working for the enhancement of ties between the two countries.

Earlier, the outgoing US Ambassador also met Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, and discussed issues of mutual interest.

Source: United News of Bangladesh