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US HAS NO PREFERENCE IN BANGLADESH POLITICAL ARENA: HAAS

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US ambassador to Bangladesh Peter Haas has reiterated that the United States has no preference for any particular party or platform in Bangladesh's political arena, but rather wants to see an "open and competitive process" play out ahead of the next national election, reports UNB.

"I want to be very clear that the US has no preference. We have no vote. We don't favour any particular party, platform or anything else that is not our role," he said during the inaugural episode of "AmTalk," an initiative premiered on the verified Facebook page of the US embassy Friday evening.

Ambassador Haas said they would like to see the same thing that the people of Bangladesh would like to see - an election run at an international standard that allows the people of Bangladesh to choose their next leaders in an "open and competitive" process, free of violence.

The US envoy said he very much welcomes some of the signals and signs that he is receiving in terms of having a transparent election.

He referred foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and said he (Momen) has made it clear that Bangladesh will welcome international observers. "I think that's critical....."

Ambassador Haas laid emphasis on advancing the relations between Bangladesh and the United States taking advantage of the opportunities and addressing the challenges through joint efforts.

"We're ready to go just as fast as Bangladesh is in advancing the partnership," said the US envoy.

He discussed US-Bangladesh bilateral relations, including security cooperation, democracy, human rights, elections, trade, and people-to-people ties in their inaugural episode of "AmTalk" conducted by US embassy spokesperson Karla Thomas.

Ambassador Haas noted the enormous achievements that Bangladesh made over the past 50 years and mentioned its 'incredible development'.

This year, Bangladesh and the United States are celebrating the 50th anniversary of friendship - foreign minister AK Abdul Momen and secretary of state Anthony Blinken kicked off a busy programme of engagements for the year ahead by marking the milestone during their meeting on 4 April in Washington, DC.

"I believe that in the last 50 years, Bangladesh has had no better friend than the United States. And that it will have no better friend over the next 50 years," ambassador Haas has said, a line he has adopted on more than one occasion since assuming his role in Dhaka, including at a "DCAB Talk" at the National Press Club hosted by the country's leading diplomatic correspondents.