Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said the government can’t give the guarantee of violence-free election without sincere cooperation from all stakeholders.
He made this remark at a press briefing, replying to a question about the next election-related discussion that took place in the meeting between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and US Under Secretary for Civilian Security, Democracy, and Human Rights Uzra Zeya at the United Nations Headquarters in New York on Thursday.
“It is clear that we want to make the next election free and fair. They (US) said for (making it) peaceful as well. Then we said that we can’t guarantee it,” said Momen, adding that the arrangement of a peaceful election doesn’t depend on the government alone.
“There is such an environment in our country where sincere cooperation from all political parties and people irrespective of their views is required to make sure that the election will be free from violence,” he said.
To make the election peaceful, the USA can assist Bangladesh so that the people from all parties and views will cooperate for a peaceful election, he added.
“In our country, the election will be held in line with our country’s constitution. We believe in people. We don’t think anyone can come to power without the mandate of the people. If anyone comes to power through vote-rigging, the government will not last long. We’ve such instances,” said Momen.
In reply to a question regarding the election observers, Momen said Dhaka welcomes foreign observers in the next general election, but many countries like India, the USA and the UK don’t allow election observers to their countries.
He doesn’t think if the foreigners describe anything well then it will be fine otherwise it will be wrong. “We don’t want to run the country by taking certificates from foreigners,” she said.
Besides, the Rohingya issue was also discussed in the meeting, said the Foreign Minister.
Sheikh Hasina who is now in New York to attend the 78th United Nations General Assembly, said Bangladesh has attached priority to send back Rohingyas to their homeland Myanmar.
"Our priority is to repatriate the forcibly displaced Rohingyas who have taken shelter in Bangladesh to their homeland," the PM was quoted as telling Zeya.
Zeya stressed the need for creating a conducive environment in Myanmar and ensuring safety and security before the repatriation of the Rohingyas.
She put emphasis on creating employment for Rohingyas to ensure their better livelihood.
The PM said the repatriation process should start as early as possible otherwise the region will fall into security threats as the Rohingyas have been engaging in criminal activities that included killings, firearms smuggling and trading.
She said Rohingyas have become frustrated with their long stay here and get involved in criminal activities and they are sensing no future there.
Sheikh Hasina also sought international support to the case filed with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) by Gambia.
Uzra Zeya informed the prime minister that they have decided to allocate $116 million for the displaced Rohingya.
Meanwhile, Under Secretary-General and Special Adviser of the UN Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide Alice Wairimu Nderitu met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at the UN headquarters.
In the meeting, the prime minister urged the United Nations to give recognition of the mass killings during the 1971 Liberation War as genocide.
She also sought cooperation from the UN to continue the trial proceedings of the genocide in Myanmar.