The United States does not support any particular political parties in Bangladesh but it wants a free and fair election according to international standards, says its ambassador in Dhaka Peter D Haas.
"I want to make one thing very clear that the US does not support any political party. What we do want is a free and fair election in accordance with international standards so that people of Bangladesh can freely choose their own government," he said, making the US position clear about Bangladesh politics and elections.
Bangladesh is committed to democracy, transparency, pluralism, tolerance, good governance and respect for human rights, he said at the monthly luncheon meeting titled "US-Bangladesh bilateral relations: Business and trade as keys to expansion" organised by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh at a city hotel on Wednesday.
Haas said the issue of democracy is more relevant now ahead of the next general elections in Bangladesh.
Holding a free and fair election is everybody's responsibility, from the Election Commission to the government to the media to law enforcement agencies to the civil society to political parties, he also said, adding that if any of them fails to play its role, or prevents others from playing their roles, free and fair elections would not be possible.
He referred to recent violent clashes in political demonstrations and viewed that free and fair elections cannot take place in an environment of political violence.
"It is important for everyone – demonstrators, government, political parties and law enforcement – to show respect to the rule of law and refrain from violence and intimidation," he stated.
The ambassador said the US has five goals for Bangladesh and all those are mutually integrated as the US believes Bangladesh needs stability, peace and security as well as democracy and resilience for economic prosperity.
Ambassador Peter outlined these goals that are stable and secure Bangladesh; respectful to democracy, good governance and human rights; socially and environmentally resilient; helping Rohingya refugees to return home and expanding US investment.
Further explaining about these goals, Peter said the US is more interested in seeing stable and secure Bangladesh.
The US has military relations with Bangladesh. The development of the armed forces of Bangladesh is strengthening the relationship between the both countries, he also said.
The envoy said about US investment, Bangladesh is joining the list of developing countries. US investors are interested in investing in this country. Hence a full time Commercial Attaché has been appointed here.
Bangladesh has given shelter to the Rohingya people of Myanmar due to humanitarian reasons despite various adversities, he noted, adding that now, work is going on for their safe return to the country. The US is supporting the Rohingya community in education, health and security.