The United States said on Thursday that it would send a joint pre-election assessment mission to Bangladesh from October 7 to 13 to provide independent and impartial information on election preparation and the electoral context.
‘While the primary role of the PEAM is to provide independent and impartial information on election preparation and the electoral context, it will also determine whether to send a limited international election observation mission for Election Day,’ US embassy spokesperson Bryan Schiller said in a statement.
Schiller said that the US-funded International Republican Institute and National Democratic Institute would independently and impartially conduct the joint pre-election assessment mission in accordance with their principles.
He said that the delegation that would visit Bangladesh would include six delegates and support staff.
The delegates will meet the Bangladesh Election Commission, government agencies, political parties, citizen observers, civil society organisations, including women’s and youth groups, Bangladesh and international media organisations, and foreign diplomatic missions during the visit, according to the spokesperson.
At the conclusion of its visit, the delegation would issue a public statement highlighting positive trends as well as areas of concern and offering practical recommendations, he said.
Meanwhile, the United States Agency for International Development, better known as USAID, Bangladesh mission director Reed Aeschliman said that the country was focused more on the process than the result of the election here.
Speaking at a dialogue, he said that the US would prefer that the upcoming election be held in a free, fair, and peaceful manner and that the people of Bangladesh take their decision.
‘We do not participate in the process. We are focused more on the process, not on the results,’ said the new USAID mission director, responding to a question from a reporter in the dialogue at the American Centre Auditorium.
Mentioning that the US did not dictate its development partner, he said that they wanted to see Bangladesh take its decision, allow businesses to come in, and bring in investment.
The USAID mission director said that strengthening democratic principles was a critical cornerstone for maximising economic growth in any country.
‘USAID investments helped Bangladesh reduce maternal and child mortality by nearly 70 per cent since 2000, thanks to a significant increase in trained health workers overseeing childbirth, especially in rural areas,’ said Aeschliman, who arrived in Dhaka in August.
Earlier in the day, the US ambassador to Bangladesh, Peter Haas, said that his country was ready to extend its support to ensure a free, fair, and peaceful election to make sure people could freely elect their leaders.
‘As Bangladesh approaches its national election in a few months, we are ready to extend our support to ensure a free, fair, and peaceful election to make sure the people can freely elect their leaders,’ said the US envoy in his remarks at the ‘Ambassador Talk Series on International Day of Peace’ in the city.
He said that they spoke out regularly about the systematic and pervasive oppression of journalists, media personalities, and even Nobel laureates, who hold their governments accountable.