The elections in Bangladesh UK want a free, fair, and peaceful. At the same time, the country is interested in increasing bilateral trade and investment with Bangladesh.
British High Commissioner Sarah Cook met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today at Ganabhaban. He informed the Prime Minister about the UK’s interest.
In the press conference after the meeting, Prime Minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim quoted Sarah Cook as saying, “The UK will continue to cooperate in the overall development of Bangladesh, especially in the efforts of women’s education.”
He said that on 21 August 2004, including Awami League leader Ivy Rahman, 24 people were killed, and more than 500 were injured
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina
Also said that the BNP-Jamaat celebrated their victory in 2001 by imposing a reign of terror killing hundreds of people, as well as raping and looting villages across the country.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina emphasized the repatriation of Rohingyas and said that the sooner Rohingyas are repatriated, the better for Bangladesh. He hoped that due attention of the international community to the Rohingya issue would speed up the repatriation of Myanmar citizens. The prime minister warned that the prolonged stay of the Rohingyas could exacerbate social problems in the Cox’s Bazar region. The UK High Commissioner said that Rohingya repatriation will be accelerated if the issue is at the center of international attention. He spoke of providing education and skill development training to the Rohingyas so that they can re-enter their homeland Myanmar for employment.
In addition, the group expressed pleasure with the current bilateral ties between Bangladesh and the UK and sought to further solidify such ties.
Expressing satisfaction with the existing relationship between Bangladesh and the United Kingdom on climate issues, the Prime Minister said that the two countries signed a climate agreement in March this year to advance climate action bilaterally and multilaterally.
Prime Minister’s Special Envoy (Ambassador-at-Large) Mohammad Ziauddin and Chief Secretary Tofazzel Hossain Mia were present during the British High Commissioner’s meeting with the Prime Minister.
Two US Congress members are now in Dhaka. The coordinator of the global anti-corruption department of the country’s foreign ministry visited Dhaka last week. This month will see the arrival of the US Indo-Pacific Command director. The European Union (EU) delegation arrived more than two weeks ago.
Bangladesh’s upcoming national elections have been a major point of interest in the visit of various delegations from Western countries to Dhaka over the years. They also demand free, fair, and peaceful elections. Although it has been silent for so long, recently the neighboring country India also clarified its position on the election of Bangladesh. The country has called for peaceful polls on schedule.
According to diplomatic observers, Western countries including the United States have moved ahead with national elections this time compared to the past. In order to ensure free and fair elections, Western countries have been emphasizing peaceful political activities. The UK and the EU have been vocal about their expectations for free and fair elections in Bangladesh. Last month, the EU pre-election observation team held discussions with various stakeholders in Dhaka. Based on their recommendations, EU Vice President Joseph Borrell will make a final decision on sending a full-fledged election observation team to Bangladesh next month.
Although Western countries are full of expectations that the elections in Bangladesh will be free and fair, neighboring India has been silent for so long. Even though Russia and China usually do not talk about other country’s elections, this time their position has changed in the case of Bangladesh. Recently, Russia and China have criticized the role of the United States in Bangladesh elections.
In such a context, the topic of the Bangladesh election came up in the regular briefing of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India in Delhi last Friday. In the briefing, when asked about the election under the caretaker government in Bangladesh, the spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs, Arindam Bagchi, said that he was unable to comment on it. However, he said, the constitution of Bangladesh has a position on this matter. Arindam Bagchi, in response to a question about the elections in the previous week’s briefing, said that India wants the people of Bangladesh to decide the elections and the democratic process.
Meanwhile, a five-member Awami League delegation visited Delhi last week at the invitation of India’s ruling party, the BJP. After returning last Thursday in a press conference in Dhaka, the chief agriculture minister of the delegation, Abdur Razzak, said that during the visit, they learned that India wants political stability in Bangladesh.
Uneasiness in the activities of diplomats
The statement of the US and European diplomats about the free and fair elections of Bangladesh has been dissatisfying the government for quite some time. The latest manifestation of the differences of opinion of Western diplomats with the government on these issues is the joint statement of the ambassadors of 13 foreign missions including the EU regarding the attack on Hero Alam, an independent candidate in the Dhaka-17 constituency by-election. At this time, State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md. Shahriar Alam expressed the government’s displeasure regarding the joint statement. At that time, citing the Vienna Charter, he urged foreign ambassadors to refrain from such ‘undiplomatic’ behavior in the future.