Foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Monday firmly expected that the United States and other foreign nations would accept the upcoming Bangladesh elections if it is free and fair, even without participation of BNP, as they did in cases of several other countries.
“Foreigners must accept . . . if it (polls) is free and fair . . . (even) a large party (BNP) doesn’t participate,” he told reporters at foreign ministry.
The foreign minister said the international community and particularly western nations in recent past accepted elections in some Arab countries yet absence of some large far right parties like the Islamic Brotherhood in Egypt.
“Brotherhood is a large party in Egypt, they didn’t come (join in the polls) . . . doesn’t matter,” Momen said adding that in neighbouring Afghanistan the foreigners took a nearly identical stance in discarding Taliban.
He said the election could be termed as participatory if voters turn out and cast their votes. The government, however, want to see all political parties join the polls in a festive mode.
“We (the government) want to show the world that elections can be held in a free and fair manner and free from violence,” Momen said.
Asked for comments on Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Kazi Habibul Awal’s remarks earlier today about foreign vigilance over the election process, Momen said Bangladesh did not “ignore them or even has any intention to ignore them”.
The foreign minister said there was no denying the fact that the US is a superpower and “We don’t ignore them (US), we don’t have any intention to ignore them”.
He said Bangladesh acknowledges suggestions of foreign countries including the United States with importance but do not want anyone to boss around as “we are a victorious nation”
“Our friendly countries give us recommendations and we welcome those suggestions if they play a supportive role,” Momen said adding Dhaka always welcomes constructive suggestions from foreigners and never ignore the developed countries.
The foreign minister said both Dhaka and Washington believe in democracy and want free and fair elections in Bangladesh. “The US believes in democracy. They (US) are with us. We are also with them.”
The minister said the history suggests that the United States steadily followed principle of accepting reality which he termed as ‘doctrine of reality’ which was seen as well over Bangladesh’s independence in 1971, when Washington was initially opposed to it.
He recalled that the US was tilted towards Pakistan during Bangladesh’s Liberation War but recognized and started supporting Bangladesh after Dhaka became the free capital of a free nation.
“Since our independence, the US has never gone against us. What does it mean? As the country is created, so we (US) are with them,” Momen said.
“When things are done, the US extends support to that.”
Asked if Dhaka was exposed to any foreign pressure ahead of the upcoming elections, he said “the government is not feeling any pressure”.