The US State Department said it is taking the incidents of violence in Bangladesh very seriously and that dialogue is important to achieving the goal of free and fair elections in Bangladesh.
The Star Online reports
Wednesday November 1, 2023 02:44 PM Last Updated: Wednesday November 1, 2023 02:44 PM
Matthew Miller. Photo: Collected
Matthew Miller. Photo: Collected
The US State Department said it is taking the incidents of violence in Bangladesh very seriously and that dialogue is critical to achieving the goal of free and fair elections in Bangladesh.
Spokesman Matthew Miller said these things in response to a question at the briefing of the US State Department on Tuesday.
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A journalist asked in the briefing, America-Europe demanded free, fair and participatory elections in Bangladesh. Bangladesh’s current head of government, Sheikh Hasina, has been in power since 2009. The first question is, is the US aware that due to India’s influence, due to India’s direct and indirect support to Awami League and Sheikh Hasina, the suffrage of the people of Bangladesh, a free, fair and participatory election is impossible?
The second question is that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina made some provocative and insulting comments at the press conference yesterday, which is related to the security of US Ambassador Peter Haas posted in Dhaka. Very few people in the world understand Sheikh Hasina’s body language and sarcasm. He did the same in 2018, when then US Ambassador Marsha Barnicutt’s car was attacked. He made the same joke at the press conference.
In response, Miller said, they have made it clear that the United States expects the same from the government of Bangladesh as it expects from other governments. And that is—they will comply with the obligations of the Vienna Convention on the Protection of Diplomats. He has said before, the day before, and that is, the responsibility of conducting free and fair elections is the responsibility of all political parties, voters, government, civil society, media. The demands of the people of Bangladesh and the demands of the United States are the same. That is, to have a peaceful, free and fair election in Bangladesh.
Another journalist asked, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said in response to US Ambassador Peter Haas’s call for a dialogue between the ruling party and the opposition in Bangladesh, that if US President Joe Biden had a dialogue with former President Donald Trump, then she (Sheikh Hasina) would have a dialogue with the opposition. He refused to hold any dialogue with political parties. He and his administration have become very aggressive towards the opposition. Two opposition leaders were killed by the police yesterday. Dissidents are being arrested. Two top opposition leaders have already been arrested in Dhaka. Every day they are arresting the leaders and activists of the opposition party. Do you think that there can be a free, fair and inclusive election in Bangladesh in this situation?
In response, Miller said he had no comment on the first part of the question. What he would say instead is that they believe dialogue is critical to achieving the goals he mentioned earlier of free and fair elections. In response to the second question, he (Miller) said that they are closely monitoring the electoral environment of Bangladesh. They are taking incidents of violence very seriously. They are engaging with government, opposition parties, civil society and other stakeholders. This engagement will continue. In the interests of the people of Bangladesh, they are calling on everyone to work together to ensure a peaceful, free and fair election.