Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen has reiterated his call to foreign countries to send observers to see the upcoming national election in Bangladesh as he assured them that the polls will be held in a free and fair manner.
"The Election Commission is committed to holding a free and fair election with participation of the voters in a festive atmosphere...I urge you to send observers to observe the election process in Bangladesh," he told concurrently accredited Ambassadors to Bangladesh at the Bangladesh mission here last evening (Friday).
Speaking at a media briefing here this morning, the foreign secretary said that he told the ambassadors that the people of Bangladesh have been eagerly waiting to rejoice this festival and take part in the democratic process to vote and elect the representatives of their choice.
Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Md. Mustafizur Rahman and Director General (DG), South Asia, Bangladesh foreign ministry A.T.M Rokebul Haque, among others, attended the media briefing when Minister (Press) Shaban Mahmood conducted the event, joined by journalists from India's mainstream media.
Responding to a media query, Masud Bin Momen told reporters that the Election Commission has already announced polls schedule in line with the country's constitution. It is the constitutional obligation that the election has to be held after every five years, so Election Commission has announced the polls schedule in line with the constitution.
Asked about "foreign interference in Bangladesh's election process", he said, "Our people's desire is our prerogative...We don't like any kind of interference in our domestic affairs...We are committed to our democratic system".
About the Rohingya issue, he sought support from their (ambassadors) respective countries to help ensure sustainable repatriation of the Myanmar citizens in their country soon. He told them that immediate repatriation of the Rohingya people is crucial for regional peace and stability.
"Ultimate solution is to sustainable return of Rohingyas to their home country as they have been emerged as a huge burden to Bangladesh," he said, adding that every year more that 34,000 new born Rohingya children are being added to the existing 1.1 million Rohingyas who took shelter in Bangladesh being persecuted in Myanmar.
In response, he said the foreign diplomats told him that they had "taken note" of Bangladesh's socio-economic progress and have been surprised how Bangladesh achieved the goal within the last couple of years. They said that Bangladesh's development has impressed them.
Foreign Secretary Masud also highlighted the foreign policy priorities and dynamics of Bangladesh under the leadership of the Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the foreign diplomats.
About long standing Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with India, he told newsmen that Bangladesh and India are working closely for implementing CEPA for expediting Bangladesh's export to India after the country's graduation from LDC's to developing nation.
During the diplomatic briefing session, Masud requested for the support of their respective government for Bangladesh's candidature for the membership of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) Council under category 'C' for the term 2024-2025, elections to be held in London on 01 December this year.
He told media that some ambassadors have showed interest to open-up their respective missions in Dhaka when he requested them and assured Bangladesh government's all out support to this end.
On a media query on the Bangladesh-India Foreign Office Consultation (FOC) held here yesterday, the foreign secretary said during the meeting both the countries emphasized on bolstering cooperation in important areas like development, grade and commerce, regional connectivity, security and water related and consular and cultural issues.
"We also discussed to address the challenges to be faced by Bangladesh during the post-graduation scenario," he said, adding that both the two foreign ministers reiterated that the two border forces should continue their cooperation to maintain peace and tranquility at the borders.
As many as 54 ambassadors concurrently accredited to Bangladesh and representatives of the envoys attended the diplomatic briefing held at Bangladesh High Commission here last evening.