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EU election observers will be welcomed: Quader

Awami League (AL) General Secretary Obaidul Quader said if the European Union (EU) wants to send its observers to Bangladesh’s upcoming national elections, they will be welcomed.

“We have said that if they (EU) want to send their election observers, they will be welcomed. Those, who will observe the elections as diplomats, will have to work within their ambit. The EU will observe the elections and monitor it closely. The government always welcomes election observers,” he told reporters after a meeting.

Quader, also the road transport and bridges minister, held the meeting with European Union (EU) Ambassador and Head of Delegation in Dhaka Charles Whiteley at the Secretariat here.

Mentioning that the election observers have to follow the 41 principles of the Vienna Convention in discharging their duties, he said, “There is no question of making any objection here. Rather, there will be a lot of talk over elections and that is why we welcome observers. They will be able to observe how the election is held”.

Responding to a question about whether the EU gave any recommendation on the polls, the AL general secretary said there was no elaborate discussion over the issue.

“A six-member EU delegation has come. They will discuss many issues in detail. They will also sit with AL (senior leaders) on July 15 next,” he added.

Claiming that there was no discussion over the caretaker government issue during the meeting, Quader said they want a peaceful election in Bangladesh.

Asked whether there was any talk about bringing the BNP to the elections, he said: “No, why would we say this? It is up to them (BNP) what they will request. We mainly discussed the election issue”.

The AL general secretary said the progress of relations with Bangladesh and the EU and contemporary global issues were also discussed during the meeting.

“A free and fair poll will be held here. I told them that the Sheikh Hasina’s government would work on it. This government will assist the Election Commission (EC) during the elections. The government will only do its routine work the way it happens in other democratic countries across the globe.”

Replying to another question, Quader said the ruling Awami League is on the streets too, while the BNP is staging demonstrations and the AL is holding peace rallies.