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World wide - July 11, 2023

EU encourages fair peaceful inclusive election: Whiteley

ExM passes busy day through holding discussions

Diplomatic Correspondent: The visiting Election Exploratory Mission (ExM) from the European Union (EU) on Monday had passed a busy time by holding a series of meetings with political parties, civil society groups and security forces.
Meanwhile, talkingreporters European Union (EU) Ambassador to Dhaka Charles Whiteleysaid the EU laid emphasis on holding a free, fair and participatory and peacefulelections in Bangladesh.
“We very much encourage peaceful, free, fair and participatory elections in Bangladesh,” he said after a meeting with ruling Awami League General Secretary and Road Transport and Bridges Minister ObaidulQuader.
The meeting of EU Ambassador and Head of Delegation in Dhaka Charles Whiteleywith ObaidulQuader was held at later’sSecretariat office.
Regarding EU delegation, Charles Whiteley said they are here to decide and recommend whether the EU should deploy a full election observation mission.
“So, it is good opportunity to speak with the Minister about this and the EU’s support,” he said adding that they had open discussions on relevant issues.
Replying to a question, AL general secretary ObaidulQuadertold reporters that it is up to the visiting EU Election Exploratory Mission whether they will request BNP or any other political party to participate in the elections.
He said if the European Union (EU) wants to send its observers to Bangladesh’s upcoming national elections, they will be welcomed.
“We have said that if they (EU) want to send their election observers, they will be welcomed. Those, who will observe the elections as diplomats, will have to work within their ambit. The EU will observe the elections and monitor it closely. The government always welcomes election observers,” he elaborated.
There was no discussion over the caretaker government issue during the meeting, Quader said adding that they want a peaceful election in Bangladesh.
The EU delegation also had a meeting with National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) Chairman Kamal Uddin Ahmed.
During the meeting, the EU delegation wanted to know about any risk of violence during the elections in Bangladesh.
The delegation also had another meeting with the leaders of Awami League International Affairs subcommittee at the residence of the Ambassador.
Earlier in the morning, The EU Election Exploratory Mission had another meeting with senior officials of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Inspector General of Missions at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), AsadAlam Siam, and other MoFA officials were present at the meeting.
Neither side, however, made any briefing or comments on the outcomes of discussion meeting.
The visiting EU delegation began their activities in Bangladesh on Sunday to assess the situation on the ground ahead of the country’s upcoming national election.
Earlier on Sunday, delegation leader Chelleri Riccardo and his team had a number of meetings so far including with diplomats stationed in Dhaka.
Moreover, the visiting delegation also had a meeting with UN Resident Coordinator Gwyn Lewis, said a diplomatic source.
The meetings took place in a number of places, including the residence of the EU Ambassador to Bangladesh, Charles Whiteley.
Diplomats have made no comments regarding the meetings as of yet.
The key meeting with ruling Awami League will be held on July 15 which will be led by ObaidulQuader.
The EU delegation will be in Bangladesh till July 23 to assess the situation.
The main objective of the Election Exploratory Mission is to assess the “advisability, usefulness and feasibility” of a possible EU Election Observation Mission for the upcoming parliamentary election, according to the EU Mission in Dhaka.

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