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Bangladesh, US want free, fair elections: US Deputy Asst Secy Afreen

US Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs (SCA) Afreen Akhter on Monday discussed issues of mutual interest including elections and the Rohingya issues with Bangladesh.

“Bangladesh and the United States want free and fair elections conducted in a peaceful manner,” said the US Embassy in Dhaka after Afreen’s meeting with Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen, UNB reports.

US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas and senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs were present.

They discussed the “strong multifaceted” bilateral relationship between the two countries and its many aspects.
The US direct investment and trade, longstanding development partnership, the Middle East, the recent visit of the independent and non-partisan election survey team, and supporting Rohingya refugees came up for discussion.

They also discussed government efforts to ensure the people of Bangladesh cast their votes in free, fair and peaceful elections.

In Colombo recently, Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen already briefed her about the preparations for the next national elections that the government wants to see free and fair.

Responding to a question, Momen recently said Afreen Akhter’s visit is 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 can not guarantee an election free from violence if all parties do not show sincerity.
He also conveyed to Akhter that Bangladeshis are not like Americans and that people in Bangladesh cast their votes with much enthusiasm. “It’s a festival here. It’s totally a different scenario in Bangladesh,” Momen said.

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 US Senator Chris Van Hollen.
She visited Dhaka in May this year.