US election observers due early Nov | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, October 23, 2008 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, October 23, 2008

US election observers due early Nov

The United States will start sending poll observers to Bangladesh in the first week of November to monitor the December 18 general election, US Ambassador to Dhaka James F Moriarty announced yesterday.
"A 120-member US poll monitoring team will start arriving here from early November to monitor the elections," the US envoy told reporters after a meeting with Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury at the foreign ministry.
Replying to a question, Moriarty said the state of emergency will not hinder sending of the US poll observation mission.
He reiterated his hope that conditions are going to be in place for holding a free, fair and credible election. "The United States wants to see a free, fair and credible election," he said.
Unlike the US, the European Union (EU) made it clear that they will not send any poll observation mission to Bangladesh if the government does not restore some civil and political rights by relaxing or lifting the emergency beforehand.
The foreign adviser and the US ambassador discussed Bangladesh-US relations which the adviser said will continue to be 'strategic'.
"We also talked about the current state of preparations for the upcoming election on December 18, a process to which the US is according full support," Iftekhar told the reporters.
He expressed happiness over the continuation of generalised system of preferences (GSP) to Bangladesh by the US, and over the fact that last year ready made garments export to the US markets amounted to more than $3.27 billion.
The subject of Kosovo also came up in the discussion, and the foreign adviser informed the ambassador that any decision regarding 'recognition' will be taken in light of 'perceived national self-interest and in discussion with other like minded Islamic countries'.
"The hearts of Bangladeshis are always with their Kosovo brethren," Iftekhar reportedly told Moriarty during the discussion.
"The US is a good friend and I know it will always continue to be so, whoever comes to the governments in both our countries. We are also watching the election in the US with great interest, and there will also be changes in Bangladesh, but I expect our partnership and cooperation to remain constant," he noted.
Asked whether the ambassador raised the issue of emergency, the foreign adviser said the Bangladesh government had time and again stated that it is an internal matter for the country, and the people of the country will have to resolve the issue.

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