US a realistic country; believes in doctrine of reality, Momen says

Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen on Monday said both Bangladesh and the US believe in democracy and want free and fair elections in Bangladesh.

"The US believes in democracy. They (US) are with us. We are also with them," he told reporters at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He said the US does not want much and they only want free and fair elections in Bangladesh. "We also want free and fair elections. Rather, I would tell them to bring those under the US visa policy who are trying to foil the polls."

Momen said the US is always a realistic country and it believes in the doctrine of reality, and when things are done, the US extends support to that.

For example, he said, the US, violating all the international laws, sided with the Pakistani forces in 1971 who committed genocide here.

But when Bangladesh observed its Victory Day on December 16, the US kept supporting Bangladesh, Momen said. "Since our independence, the US has never gone against us. What does it mean? As the country is created, so we are with them."

Momen said Bangladesh Awami League does not like creating barriers to democratic journey. "We believe in democracy. We don't want to hinder democratic process."

He said they want to show the world that elections can be held in a free and fair manner and free from violence.

"We hope all parties will take part in the polls and a festive mood prevails across the country," said the foreign minister.

Responding to a question, Momen said Bangladesh welcomes constructive suggestions that go in line with people's welfare.

"Our friendly countries give us recommendations and we welcome those suggestions if they play a supportive role," he said.

Regarding violence free polls, he said it requires sincerity and willingness from all.

Momen said they cannot ignore the developed countries. "We do consider them with a lot of respect and honour."

"But it is true that the US is a superpower. We can't ignore them. We even don't ignore them. And we have no intention," said the minister, adding that they consider and accept their suggestions, giving much importance.

He said the next election will be seen as participatory if people cast their votes. Usually, 50 percent voters cast their vote in Bangladesh, he added.

There was only one election in Bangladesh during the BNP-Jamaat tenure in 1996 which was voter-less, Momen said.

Responding to a question on RAB, Momen said RAB is a very dignified organisation and people respect it as it is free from corruption.

"It is a very effective organisation. We uprooted terrorism due to the presence of RAB while drug and human trafficking saw a sharp decline," he said, adding that they are very smart because they are well trained by the US and Britain. "They will do better if they are given training again."

"The US is a mature government and we are always hopeful that sanctions on the elite force will be withdrawn."

Responding to a question, Momen said they are not feeling any pressure ahead of the next polls.

"Politics is not for arson attacks, not murdering people, obstructing the country's development and hindering the educational life of students through blockade. Politics should be aimed at people's welfare. Then people will accept them," said the foreign minister.

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