Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Thursday said he had “very good and positive” discussion with US Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) Afreen Akhter in Colombo on several issues including elections and human rights.
The foreign minister briefed her about the preparations for the next national elections that the government wants to see free and fair.
While addressing a weekly media briefing at Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Momen said the US deputy assistant secretary will be in Dhaka next week to discuss issues of mutual interests.
The visit may take place on October 16-18, a diplomatic source told UNB, noting that she might also visit Cox’s Bazar Rohingya camps during the visit.
Akhter looks after issues in Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and the Maldives, as well as the Office of Security and Transnational Affairs.
She was the National Security and Foreign Affairs Adviser to U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen.
She visited Dhaka in May this year.
The US official will meet government officials to discuss priority bilateral issues and election issue may also come up for discussion.
The foreign minister had a series of meetings in Colombo on Wednesday including a meeting with his Indian counterpart S Jaishankar.
Momen raised the issue of medical visa for Bangladeshis so that the process is expedited.
Responding to question, Momen said Akhter is coming mainly to discuss two issues – Rohingya crisis and Bangladesh elections.
He said the US also wants to see free and fair elections in Bangladesh.
Momen, however, said the government cannot guarantee an election free from violence if all parties do not show sincerity.
He also conveyed Akhter that Bangladeshis are not like Americans and people in Bangladesh cast their votes with much enthusiasm. “It’s a festival here. It’s totally a different scenario in Bangladesh,” Momen said.