The United States has reiterated its desire to see a free and fair election in Bangladesh, noting that the world is looking to Bangladesh for the next election.
‘Of course, we are looking....the world is looking to Bangladesh for its next elections to make sure that they set up strong example of free and fair election for the region and world,’ said US secretary of state Antony J Blinken during his meeting with foreign minister AK Abdul Momen in Washington on Monday afternoon (US time).
Appreciating Bangladesh's engagement with the USA, Blinken said they are committed to work together to find ways to further ‘strengthen and deepen’ the robust relationship.
He said the US deeply appreciates Bangladesh's remarkable generosity in hosting over 1.1 million Rohingyas in Bangladesh.
While briefing the media after the meeting, minister Momen said Bangladesh, like the US, also wants a free, fair and model election.
‘Democracy is in our blood. People gave blood to uphold democracy, justice and human dignity,’ he said, seeking help from the US for a free and fair election.
Momen highlighted the independent election commission and measures taken for holding the election transparently.
He said Bangladesh welcomes US observers but not any partisan observers. ‘All opposition parties must come forward to help in holding a free and fair election. We are creating the environment for a free fair election.’
Momen said he handed over a letter of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to Secretary Blinken addressed to US President Joe Biden.
‘We are proud of the partnership,’ he said, adding that he is here to strengthen and solidify the relationship.
Momen has said Bangladesh wants to improve its ties with the United States with a stronger trade relationship in the next 50 years.
‘Bangladesh has a multifaceted, dynamic and wide ranging relationship with the US. Over the last 50 years we have done very well. We look forward to the next 50 years,’ he said.
Bangladesh raised the issue of Rashed Chowdhury, a convicted killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is moving freely in the United States.
Momen hoped that US will not be a shelter for killers and will hand over killer Rashed to Bangladesh as Bangladesh wants to establish the rule of law in the country.
During the meeting, Bangladesh sought efforts to enhance relations on trade and investment fronts, reiterated its call for the return of the Bangabandhu's killer and discussed issues of mutual interests.
The two sides also focused on their ongoing cooperation to deal with the climate crisis, meet the needs of Rohingyas, their safe return to Myanmar, and promote regional security through UN peacekeeping operations.
On April 4 last year, Blinken met with Momen to celebrate and reflect on the 50th anniversary of Bangladesh-US relations.
They discussed the ‘tremendous economic potential’ of the relationship and reflected on the ways the two countries collaborated over the last half century - including in growing people-to-people ties with vibrant Fulbright exchanges.
Talking to reporters on Wednesday in Dhaka, Momen said: ‘I'd say we're lucky because the American secretary of state doesn't give invitations frequently. We got three in a row. America is paying much attention to our journey on the highway of development.’