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No scope for consensus as BNP wants govt to step down: FM Momen tells US Congressmen

Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Sunday conveyed to visiting US congressmen Ed Case and Richard McCormick that there is no scope for reaching any consensus as BNP wants the government to step down.

He conveyed the message when the congressmen wanted to know whether there is any way to reach consensus.

Momen also asked them whether the US government would step down prior to the election there.

Talking to reporters, the foreign minister said the election will be held as per the existing rules.

He said the Bangladesh government wants “fair and transparent elections, free of violence where all political parties have a role.”

The foreign minister said the opposition is only talking about the resignation of the government instead of thinking about the next election.

“Resignation of the government can’ be a topic,” he said.

Momen said Awami League has always been a pro-election political party.

He said the government is committed to hold a free and fair election and people will decide their leaders.

He said they discussed the growing trade relations between the two countries and he invited the US to invest more in Bangladesh in diverse areas, including in the pharmaceutical sector.

Climate issues and ties with China also came up for discussion.

The foreign minister said they also discussed the Rohingya crisis and Indo-Pacific region and Bangladesh briefly talked about its Indo-Pacific Outlook that seeks a free, fair, inclusive and secure region.

Momen said the government welcomes frequent visits from the US which will help build stronger communication between the two sides and let them know facts instead of depending on propaganda and fake news.

The Foreign Minister held the meeting with the visiting members of the United States Congress at the State Guest House Padma on Sunday afternoon.

Congressman McCormick is representing the Republican Party from Georgia, and Case is from the Democratic Party, Hawaii.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas was also present in the meeting.

Momen asks visiting congressmen whether US govt would step down prior to election there

From the Bangladesh side, among others, Special Envoy to the Prime Minister for Climate Change Saber Hossain Chowdhury; Member of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs Kazi Nabil Ahmed; and Mohammad A. Arafat were present at the meeting.

In the morning, the congressmen visited Bangabandhu Memorial Museum at Dhanmondi 32 in Dhaka.

The congressmen are scheduled to meet leaders of various political parties.

Case and McCormick will visit Rohingya camps in Cox’s Bazar on Monday and hold meetings with various stakeholders.

The US embassy said they are pleased to welcome the first congressional delegation since 2017.

While in Dhaka, representatives McCormick (R-GA) and Case (D-HI) are meeting with government officials, and civil society members to discuss the importance of free and fair elections and issues of mutual interest to strengthen bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the United States.