Disappointed with delay by Bangladesh in issuing visas to election observers: US

PTI Washington, USA Dec 22, 2018, 02.29 PM(IST)

File photo of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. Photograph:( Zee News Network )

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State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said the delay on the part of the Bangladesh government has 'forced' the Asian Network for Free Elections to cancel its observation mission for the December 30 election.

The United States has said it was disappointment over Bangladesh's inability to issue visas and other credentials to a group of international observers "within the timeframe necessary" for monitoring the general election later this month.

State Department Deputy Spokesperson Robert Palladino said Friday the delay on the part of the Bangladesh government has "forced" the Asian Network for Free Elections to cancel its observation mission for the December 30 election.

"The United States is disappointed by the Government of Bangladesh's inability to grant credentials and issue visas within the timeframe necessary to conduct a credible international monitoring mission to the majority of international election monitors from the Asian Network for Free Elections, which the US-funded through the National Democratic Institute," he said.

Palladino urged Bangladesh to complete the accreditation of all local NGOs that constitute the Election Working Group, which includes some funded by USAID, so they can conduct election monitoring.

"We encourage the Government of Bangladesh to uphold its commitment to a democratic process by ensuring all Bangladeshis are free to peacefully express themselves and participate in December 30 election," he said.

The Asian Network for Free Elections was established in 1997.

ANFREL strives to promote and support democratisation at national and regional levels in Asia. It has served towards strengthening democratisation in Sri Lanka, Nepal, Thailand, Malaysia, Cambodia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, East Timor and Indonesia, according to the information on its website.