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US wants peaceful polls, better human rights record in B’desh

US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman has reaffirmed the importance of upholding human rights and holding “free, fair, and peaceful” national elections in Bangladesh.

The statement by Sherman came as she met with State Minister for Foreign Affairs Md Shahriar Alam and discussed issues of mutual interest in the US on Friday, according to a message received from the US State Department, reports UNB.

“I met with Bangladeshi State Minister Md Shahriar Alam and discussed the wide-ranging US-Bangladesh partnership. We also talked about human rights, the importance of free and fair elections, and Russia’s illegal attempt to seize land from Ukraine,” Sherman tweeted on Saturday.

The Deputy Secretary expressed condolences for the three Bangladeshi UN peacekeepers, who were killed on October 4 in the Central African Republic, said US Department of State Spokesperson Ned Price.

Sherman and Alam discussed the US-Bangladesh partnership as two countries commemorate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Referring to the US sanctions imposed on the RAB and its senior officials, the State Minister urged the US government to withdraw the sanctions as soon as possible, according to a media statement received from the Embassy of Bangladesh in Washington.

Deputy Secretary Sherman reiterated on continued collaboration with Bangladesh on its fight against terrorism and violent extremism, it said.

Noting the progress made in the labour sector in Bangladesh, Deputy Secretary Sherman stressed upon strengthening cooperation between the two countries to increase bilateral trade.

The war in Ukraine, the issues of food and energy security and the next parliamentary election in Bangladesh were also discussed at the meeting, it said.

The State Minister urged the US government to expedite the deportation of Bangabanhu’s killer Rashed Chowdhury to Bangladesh mentioning that the issue was of utmost importance to the people of Bangladesh and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina herself.

State Minister Alam also emphasised the conclusion of an extradition treaty between Bangladesh and the USA as early as possible.

The State Minister thanked the US government for extending tremendous support to Bangladesh by delivering nearly 88 million COVID-19 vaccine doses to fight the pandemic.

He also expressed his sincere appreciation for the US humanitarian support to the Rohingya in Bangladesh and the US efforts to ensure repatriation of Rohingya to Myanmar.

He also sought the US support at the WTO on the LDC-related matters so that countries like Bangladesh could attain a smooth and sustainable LDC graduation.

The State Minister expressed his government’s willingness to work more closely with the US on climate change and migration.

He drew the US attention for an action-oriented discussion on the issue of loss and damage in the upcoming COP-27.

Sherman, meanwhile, lauded the contribution of Bangladeshi peacekeepers in global peacekeeping.

She was also appreciative of Bangladesh’s high COVID-19 vaccination rate and measures undertaken by the government to fight and contain the pandemic.

The Deputy Secretary appreciated Bangladesh’s leadership role in climate change and encouraged Bangladesh to join the Global Methane Pledge prior to COP27.

Later on Friday, Rear Admiral Eileen Laubacher, Special Assistant to the US President and incoming Senior Director for South Asia at the White House National Security Council, paid a courtesy call on the State Minister at the Bangladesh Embassy in Washington.