Bangladesh remains open to foreign observers in next election: Momen
Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen today told the departing US Ambassador Earl R Miller that Bangladesh would remain open to foreign observers in the next parliamentary elections due in 2023.
During a farewell meeting at the State Guest House Padma, they also discussed ways of cooperation on human rights, according to a foreign ministry statement today.
Momen briefed Ambassador Miller on the ongoing Union Parishad and City Corporation elections in Narayanganj, underscoring the free and fair nature of the elections and high voter turnout.
The US-Bangladesh relationship saw some strains following the US sanctions on Rab and seven of its current and former officials.
Also, the Biden administration did not invite Bangladesh to the Democracy Summit on December 9-10 last year, triggering surprise among the diplomatic circle in Dhaka.
Late December, Momen wrote to the US Secretary of State Blinken, requesting him to reconsider the sanctions.
Ambassador Miller, who is leaving shortly after more than three-year tenure here, underscored that the US remains willing to remain closely engaged with Bangladesh on human rights related issues, including through regular dialogues.
Noting that many in-person interactions between the two governments could not take place due to pandemic, both sides expressed optimism that a series of dialogues and visits would take place in coming months and further enhance the bilateral relations.
Momen thanked Miller for his cooperation in the last three years, especially for vaccine support. Bangladesh has so far received 28 million vaccine doses under Covax.
The US is also the largest donor for the humanitarian operations of the Rohingyas. He also urged the US to support humanitarian operations in Bhashan Char.
Meanwhile, USAID Administrator Prof Samantha Power responded positively to Foreign Minister Momen's letter and as a result, the Economic Relations Division 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.
Momen also urged the US to participate in large infrastructure projects in Bangladesh.
He wished Ambassador Miller good health and happiness, and expressed optimism that he would continue working for the enhancement of ties between the two countries.
Earlier, Ambassador Miller called on Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen and discussed issues of mutual interest.