US Ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas has said the US will not take any side in the upcoming elections in Bangladesh and reiterated US commitment across the world to help countries strengthen democracy.
"Let me be clear. The United States will not pick a side in the upcoming elections. We simply hope for a democratic process that allows the Bangladeshi people to freely decide who will run their country," said the Ambassador while addressing a seminar on Sunday.
Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies (BIISS) organized the seminar on "Bangladesh and the United States Relations: Moving Towards Enhanced Cooperation and Partnership" at the BIISS Auditorium.
Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen spoke as the chief guest.
Ambassador Haas said, "The United States is not perfect. We have embarked on our own democratic renewal. This journey includes tackling our own issues with police accountability and ensuring all Americans can cast their ballots on election day. And we are inviting countries around the world to make similar commitments to strengthen their democracies.
"I am pleased Foreign Minister Momen has stated that Bangladesh will welcome international observers during the next election."
He also welcomed the law minister's commitment to reform the Digital Security Act to prevent further abuses.
"Holding an election consistent with international standards is not just about the day votes are actually cast. In effect, the elections have already started. Truly democratic elections require the space for civic discourse to take place, an environment where journalists can investigate without fear, and the ability for civil society organizations to advocate broadly," he added.
The US Ambassador further said the relations between the two countries grew with a series of recent engagements while two more important engagements will be held in the coming months.
He further said the two countries can enhance security cooperation.
The ambassador also talked about two proposed agreements - the General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA) and the Acquisition and Cross Servicing Agreement (ACSA) which are "essential" to enabling a closer defence relationship, expanding opportunities for defence trade, information sharing, and military-to-military cooperation between two countries.
He said there are many misperceptions about these two proposed agreements.