** People rescuing an injured passenger from inside a passenger bus hit by a truck on Dhaka-Mawa Expressway in Shologhar area of Shreenagar upazila in Munshiganj on Thursday. ** Motorcycles allowed on Padma Bridge after 10 months ** Commuters charge extra fare, passengers disappointed ** 78 people killed in Yemen stampede ** Moon sighting committee meets today to ascertain Eid day ** 9 killed in road accidents in 3 districts ** US announces new $325 m military aid package for Ukraine ** Eid-ul-Fitr in Saudi Arabia today ** Eid exodus begins ** LPG price cut illusive ** 15 hurt as bus overturns in capital ** New interbank cheque clearing timings set for Eid holidays ** Four women hit by a train die in Tangail ** 12.28 lakh SIM users left Dhaka on Tuesday ** Sylhet engineer threatened over power outage ** People rush to village homes to spend Eid holidays with their near and dear ones. This photo was taken from Sadarghat Launch Terminal on Tuesday. NN photo ** Surge in cases of dehydration, diarrhoea amid summer heat wave ** Padma Bridge construction cost increases by Tk 2,412cr ** PM gives Tk 90m to Bangabazar fire victims ** Textile workers block highway demanding wage, Eid bonus ** Attack on PM's motorcade Ex-BNP MP, 3 others get life term ** Load-shedding increases for demand of electricity during heat wave ** Motorbikes to be allowed on Padma bridge from Thursday ** 5-day Eid vacation begins from today ** Take Nangalkot train accident as a warning about negligence of govt functionaries **

Foreign Minister criticises US democracy as weak and problematic

30 March 2023

Staff Reporter :
Foreign Minister Dr. AK Abdul Momen has commented that there are problems with democracy in the United States and their democracy is weak.
"The democracy in the US is weak, so they are trying to raise awareness of democracy both domestically and internationally. We are also trying to do the same. If they say that it's nothing, there is nothing wrong. We have created transparent institutions to ensure credible elections," he said this while talking to the journalist in his ministry on Wednesday.
On the occasion of Bangladesh's Independence Day, US President Joe Biden mentioned the issue of democracy and elections in a letter to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.
When asked about the government's reaction to this, the Foreign Minister stated that our image has improved due to geo-political reasons, and everyone wants to strengthen their relationship with us and increase business.
"We want free and fair elections, and the United States also wants this. They have problems with democracy in their own country. In the last US elections, other political parties did not believe that the American elections were transparent," he mentioned.
"Momen says that Bangladesh's democracy is highly matured. Bangladesh's democracy has become more powerful because of Sheikh Hasina," adding that despite being a minister in the ruling party, he criticises the 2001-06 government for not having democracy in the country.
"There was no democracy during that time as there were Jihadis and terrorists," he said.
The Foreign Minister expressed the message that the upcoming election should be fair and acceptable.
He stated that many elections have been held under the Sheikh Hasina-led government in the past 14 years, and they have been free and fair.
"Perhaps there were five out of a thousand elections that may have been questionable, but overall, they have been fair," the minister said.
"In future, our elections will also be free, fair and acceptable. The Sheikh Hasina government is committed to conducting fair and clean elections," he continued.
The Minister also thinks that it is not solely the responsibility of the government to ensure free and fair elections.
"It is not the government's sole responsibility to conduct free and fair elections. The responsibility falls on the voters, various government officials who will be leading the process, and larger political parties," Momen said.
In response to a question about whether the government feels pressure from the United States on issues related to democracy or elections, the Foreign Minister said that they do not feel pressure.
He suggested that the media may feel pressure, but the government does what is best for the people of the country.
He emphasised that it is up to the people of the country to decide whom they trust and whom they do not, regardless of whether they are domestic or foreign.
In response to a question about bringing back the bodies of Bangladeshi nationals who died in a bus accident while on pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Minister replied that the government brings back the bodies of all its citizens who passes away abroad.
Regarding the specific issue of repatriating the bodies of those who died in the bus accident, he said he cannot comment on it at this time and would need to be informed about it.
Generally, when someone dies abroad, their bodies are repatriated using government funds if the deceased person's family cannot afford the cost, he mentioned.
Earlier in another programme at the Jatiya Press Club in the capital, in response to a question about the list of those who built property in 'Begum Para' in Canada, the minister stated that foreign governments have a law called the Privacy Act through which they do not provide information about individuals who have taken money from their country and are reluctant to share such information with us.
"The information that we have obtained is based on unofficial sources as we do not receive information from the foreign governments. Without official information, it is difficult to take action based on that information," he said.
When asked if the Bangladesh government has requested information from foreign governments, the minister replied that they have requested but the foreign governments are citing various laws and regulations to withhold such information.
However, it is the responsibility of the relevant authorities to pursue this matter. These foreign governments are large institutions with significant financial resources.

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