Foreign Minister welcomes US-based IRI in Bangladesh to observe election

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen addresses a meeting of the IRI in the United States as the chief guest on 13 April, 2023.PID

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen has welcomed the members of the United States’ International Republican Institute (IRI) to observe the upcoming national elections in Bangladesh.

Seheli Sabrin, spokesperson of foreign ministry, made the disclosure in a weekly press briefing at the ministry on Thursday.

The IRI is a non-profitable organisation that works to strengthen civil society, political parties, marginalized communities, and other key areas essential to democratic governance.

It encourages democracy in places where it is absent, helps democracy become more effective where it is in danger and shares best practices where democracy is flourishing.

Foreign minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday held a bilateral meeting with his US counterpart Antony Blinken during his visit to the United States.

Seheli Sabrin said the foreign minister addressed a meeting of the IRI in the United States as the chief guest. He shed light on the political scenario of Bangladesh, the electoral process and preparations for a free, fair and inclusive election.

Seheli Sabrin, spokesperson of foreign ministry, addresses a weekly press briefing at the ministry on 13 April 2023

The IRI officials expressed their interest in observing the elections in Bangladesh and the foreign minister welcomed it.

Minister Momen also spoke at an event of the Atlantic Council’s South Asia Center at the George Washington University. He discussed economic partnership and prospects with the US, economic diplomacy, regional development and relations with the global powers.

Won’t affect Dhaka-Washington ties

The remarks by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her ICT adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy will have no impact on the bilateral relations between Dhaka and Washington, said Seheli Sabrin.

“I don’t think so ... because we held a very good meeting and discussed all issues that we had in our agenda,” she said in response to a question of a newsperson in this regard.

Just two days before the Monday’s foreign minister-level meeting between Bangladesh and the US, prime minister’s ICT affairs adviser Sajeeb Wazed Joy criticised the expulsion of two African-American lawmakers of Tennessee, sparing another one, over their gun control protests, questioning the fairness of democracy in the United States.

“The US State legislature voted to expel two minority lawmakers, while keeping a third who was white. This is the state of democracy in the US. The US State Department is nothing but a bunch of hypocrites,” Joy said in a Facebook post.