Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has briefed his US counterpart Antony Blinken about Bangladesh's "transparent and independent" election commission apparently suggesting him to encourage BNP to take part in the election process.
"Bring them (BNP) to the election process to follow the rules and procedures of the country," he told Blinken during their bilateral meeting at the US Department of State on Monday.
While talking to reporters after the meeting in Washington, Momen said he conveyed to the US side that there is a good election process and system in Bangladesh and all parties except one (BNP) join the elections that are transparent, free and fair.
The foreign minister said the BNP must go to the people and take part in the voting process. "We've a fair system. We've an Election Commission. They're (EC) independent and during the election they are the boss."
Momen said if they (BNP) are really committed to democracy they should participate in the election process. "They're welcome if they want to do elections."
The FM said the mayor in his city (Sylhet) is from BNP and they are very comfortably working together.
Momen referred to weaknesses of US democracy though the United States is among the oldest modern democracies.
Whereas, he said Bangladesh is a country of 50 years with 18 years of military-backed governments. The foreign minister said the vast population in Bangladesh cast their votes in the elections while the number is very few in the US.
Momen said elections are being held at various levels in Bangladesh since Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina came to power.
The foreign minister raised the issue of sheltering Rashed Chowdhury, a convicted killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and reiterated Bangladesh's call to handover him to Bangladesh.
Secretary Blinken and Foreign Minister Momen discussed the tremendous economic potential of the relationship and reflected on the ways they have collaborated over the last half century - including growing our people-to-people ties with our vibrant Fulbright exchange.
They also highlighted ongoing cooperation to address the climate crisis, meet the needs of Rohingya victims of genocide, and promote regional security through UN peacekeeping operations.
Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the importance of protecting human rights, the rule of law, and freedom of religion as the basis for safe and prosperous democratic societies.
Lawmaker Mahbubul Alam Hanif, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, Secretary (West) Shabbir Ahmad Chowdhury and Bangladesh Ambassador to the US M Shahidul Islam accompanied Foreign Minister Momen at the meeting.
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