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“All organizations in Bangladesh must play a key role to ensure fair elections”

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Update : Tuesday, November 8, 2022

Diplomatic Correspondent/

US Ambassador to Dhaka Peter D Haas said that the US does not care about who is winning the elections. Concerned about free and fair elections.

He said this in an exchange meeting with the editorial board at a hotel in the capital on Tuesday. At this time, he also informed about not taking sides of any particular party.

Peter de Haas said that all organizations in Bangladesh should play their proper role to ensure free and fair elections. Elections start even before the election day by creating a level playing field for all. In addition to mentioning these things, the US ambassador stressed the importance of independent media for free and fair elections.

During the exchange of views, the editors apprised the ambassador about the challenges of a free and independent media. In this context, it is said that not only strict laws, but also media ownership is a challenge.

The ambassador said that within the United States, there is continued pressure and debate about transparency on rights violations. He also said that the related organizations are working on this matter.

Bangladesh is facing various economic pressures due to Russia-Ukraine war. In this regard, the US ambassador said, the economic condition of various countries before the war, currently no one is in that position or better than that. But it is true that some countries have suffered more. The ambassador pointed out that there is a need to give more importance to the agricultural sector of Bangladesh to deal with the economic pressure.

The ambassador emphasized how Bangladesh and the US can maintain cooperative relations and conduct economic activities after the LDC transition. In this regard, he also emphasized on skill development, training and diversification of products to increase exports. Peter de Haas said that it is now important to discuss how to increase trade between the two countries. That’s why we need to think about what our next step should be. At this time, he gave his opinion in favor of increasing foreign direct investment in Bangladesh.

The ambassador said that the US International Development Finance Corporation invests in infrastructure development, women’s empowerment activities. But their activities are conducted under the principles of Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). Where Bangladesh has lost access. After the Rana Plaza accident, Bangladesh has improved greatly for the safety of workers at workplaces. However, the overall labor rights situation hinders access to those benefits.

Appreciating the opening of the Bangladesh border for the Rohingyas without expecting them to be repatriated very soon, the US ambassador said, the US cannot put pressure on the Myanmar junta to take the Rohingyas back to their own country at the risk of their lives. Although they need to be repatriated. “We have to make sure that they don’t get discouraged because of lack of commitment,” he added.

The meeting was chaired by The Daily Star editor Mahfuz Anam, president of the editorial board, and Prothom Alo editor Matiur Rahman, Manabzamin editor Matiur Rahman Chowdhury, Ajker newspaper editor Golam Rahman, Bhorer paper editor Shyamal Dutta, Ittefaq editor Tasmima Hossain, Inqilab editor AMM Bahauddin, Samakal Acting Editor Mozammel Hossain, Banik Berta Editor Dewan Hanif Mahmud, Financial Express Editor Shamsul Haque Zahid, Desh Parwaran Acting Editor Mustafa Mamun and Dhaka Tribune Associate Editor Abu Saeed Asiful Islam.

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