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EU expects fair, transparent polls in Bangladesh

‘More needs to be done for return of Rohingyas’

19 July 2018,Thursday, 14:04



The European Union (EU) on Thursday said they expect free, fair, credible and transparent elections in Bangladesh as the nation goes to national election by the end of this year.

“We are looking forward to free, fair, credible and transparent elections in this country,” said Managing Director for Asia and the Pacific at European External Action Service Gunnar Wiegand adding that they discussed preparations on this.

He made the remark while talking to reporters at state guesthouse Padma after the third diplomatic consultations between Bangladesh and the EU.

Responding to UNB question on Rohingya issue, the EU diplomat said they will continue to support Rohingyas to ease burden on Bangladesh and expect that other countries will also come forward.

In the meeting, both sides discussed a wide range of issues of common interest including political developments on both sides.

Trade and investment, matters of regional and global interest where the EU and Bangladesh can intensify collaboration were also discussed in the meeting that held at State Guesthouse Meghna.

Issues relating to migration, peace and security and Agenda 2030 will also be discussed.

Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque and his EU counterpart Gunnar Wiegand led Bangladesh and EU sides respectively in the meeting.

Wiegand said the EU stands in solidarity with Bangladesh in helping Rohingyas living in Bangladesh which is an enormous burden for the host country.

He highly appreciated Bangladesh’s effort in this regard and assured of their continuous support to address the plight of Rohingyas.

“But more needs to be done,” Wiegand said adding that they want to see the first batch of returnees after required conditions are created for safe, voluntary and dignified return of Rohingyas to their homeland.

He also appreciated progress made so far in terms of engagement with UN agencies with Bangladesh and Myanmar in finding a solution to Rohingya crisis.

On migration issues, the EU diplomat said they have had a problem with irregular migrants from Bangladesh to Europe. “We welcome regular migration but we do not welcome irregular migration.”

He said they are in discussion to ensure return of irregular migrants with “full transparency and amicable way.”

Earlier, the government signed standard operating procedures (SOPs) with the European Union on return of genuine Bangladesh migrants with no right to stay in the EU member countries.

The EU member countries, according to the SOPs, would be able to repatriate irregular Bangladesh nationals only after exhausting all administrative and judicial procedures of respective sending countries and subject to verification of their nationality.

Foreign Secretary Haq said they had very fruitful and interactive discussions and they looked at all aspects of relationship – political, social and developmental issues with special focus on Rohingya issue.

“We have also discussed SDGs (sustainable development goals) implementation and migration issue,” he said.

EU Ambassador in Dhaka Rensje Teerink and senior foreign ministry officials, among others, were present.

The second diplomatic consultation between Bangladesh and the EU was held on February 15 last year in Brussels.

 

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