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Momen eyes stronger ties with US

Published : 10 Apr 2023 10:35 PM

Bangladesh wants to improve its ties with the United States with a “stronger trade” relationship in the next 50 years, foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen said ahead of his bilateral meeting with Secretary of State Antony J Blinken in Washington Monday at around 1:30 pm US Time.

During the meeting, Momen said he would also raise the issue of Rashed Chowdhury, a convicted killer of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is living in the United States. Bangladesh wants his extradition.

The foreign minister was talking to reporters in Washington on Sunday.

“We have been maintaining a very good relationship with the USA,” he said, adding that his visit is aimed at discussing ways to advance the Bangladesh-US ties on key fronts over the next five decades.

“We hope that (the US) will not shelter killers,” he said, adding that the US is a country with rule of law. “Bangladesh wants to establish the rule of law in the country.”

Before leaving Dhaka, he said there was no disagreement with the United States about holding transparent and fair elections.

“We want transparent and fair elections. America also wants tran parent and fair elections. There is no disagreement between us,” he had said, replying to a question on Wednesday after an event at a Dhaka hotel.

This is his third visit to the US at the invitation of the Secretary of State. “I must say that we are very lucky. We received his invitation three times in a row,” he had said, adding that “America is our greatest friend. They are our biggest investors. It is one of the biggest export destinations.”

 Dr Momen said America is the only country that gave more than 100 million vaccines completely free of charge for Covid-19. And they delivered the vaccine at home. After the arrival of the Rohingyas, they stood by us. Other countries are also helping us.

 “America is paying enough attention to our development. And our relationship has improved.”

 He said America wants a transparent, and acceptable election in Bangladesh. However, Awami League's policy is also election. We came to power through elections. When democracy was rejected in 1970-71, we fought for democracy.

 Three million people gave their lives to establish democracy. That's why others need not teach democracy to us. It's in our bones. Democracy is in our blood. We want transparent elections. America also wants transparent elections. We do not disagree with that. We have made transparent ballot boxes. We have formed an independent election commission. They will hold the election. The responsibility of the Election Commission is to conduct transparent and acceptable elections. The government must help the commission. And it will not happen only if the government helps. People, all political parties, and the media should also help them.

 “A fair and transparent election is not possible without the help of all political parties. We believe in the Constitution and the rule of law,” the foreign minister had said.