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Dhaka noncommittal on US pre-election mission recommendations

by tbhdesk

FM says govt always in dialogue with partners
There is no election monitoring in most countries

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday said Dhaka had nothing to say – yes or no – about the US pre-election observation mission’s five recommendations ahead of Bangladesh’s general election.

He, however, welcomed its dialogue proposal saying the government was “always in dialogue with different parties.”

The International Republican Institute (IRI) and the National Democratic Institute (NDI) following their joint visit made five recommendations to Bangladesh for its upcoming election to be “credible, inclusive and nonviolent.”

These include moderate rhetoric and engaging in open and substantive dialogue on key election issues: protecting freedom of expression and ensuring an open civic space where dissent is respected; committing to nonviolence and holding perpetrators of political violence accountable; creating conditions to allow all parties to engage in meaningful political competition, including bolstering independent election management; and promoting a culture of inclusive and active electoral participation among citizens.

The foreign minister was asked about the position of the government in this regard.

“They have given their statement. This is welcome (dialogue). We are always in dialogue with different parties. We have no objection to that. Let them also have dialogue, if they want. We have created an independent election commission, so we have no objection to it.”

“We always say that we are willing to talk to everyone, and we do that,” he said.

In response to the question of whether the government welcomed the recommendations, he said: “We have nothing to say – yes or no – about it. What they said or not… it is their headache.”

He, however, pointed out that there was no role of election observation in the US system. “Despite that, they talk about election observation in Bangladesh. It is sad.”

“In most countries of the world, there is no monitoring of elections. But those countries are doing well.”

He, however, suggested the media not focus on their comments.

“This (election) is your (media) hot topic. They have so much fun that the Bangladeshi media cares about them. That is why they enjoy it.”

“We do not need observers. We need voters. If people vote, that is enough for us. We are not dependent on foreigners,” he said.

On the question of international acceptance of the election if foreign observers do not come, Momen said it was immaterial.

“If my people vote, that is enough for me.”

Source: Dhaka Tribune.

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