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PM hopeful EC will hold inclusive polls

  • Published at 11:52 pm July 19th, 2018
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina talks to Niels Annen, the visiting German state minister for foreign affairs, during a meeting at Ganabhaban on Thursday, July 19, 2018 Focus Bangla

Sheikh Hasina expresses the hope during a meeting with Niels Annen, the visiting German state minister for foreign affairs, at Ganabhaban

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has expressed hope that the Election Commission will be able to hold an inclusive, fair and neutral general election with the support of all political parties, the administrations and other stakeholders.

She made the statement during a meeting with visiting German State Minister for Foreign Affairs Niels Annen at her official residence, Ganabhaban, on Thursday, reports UNB.

The prime minister’s Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim briefed reporters after the meeting.

In reply to a query about the election, the premier informed the German junior minister that the Election Commission of Bangladesh was absolutely independent and it had conducted more than 6,000 elections to the country's local government bodies under the current Awami League-led government.

"None of those elections was questionable. Sometimes our rivals won the polls, and sometimes we won," Ihsanul quoted the prime minister as saying.

About the Rohingya crisis, she said Bangladesh wanted a peaceful solution to the crisis as the country follows the principle “Friendship to all, malice to none.”

Sheikh Hasina said the Rohingya people outnumbered the local residents in Cox's Bazar, who were suffering due to the displaced Myanmar nationals.

The prime minister also said she was happy about the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with German-based company Veridos GmbH for the implementation of e-passport project in Bangladesh.

She extended her invitation through Annen to German Chancellor Angela Merkel to visit Bangladesh.

At the meeting, Annen assured the prime minister that Germany would continue its support, including financial support, for the displaced Rohingyas who took shelter in Cox's Bazar fleeing persecution in Rakhine, Myanmar.

He said the large number of Rohingya refugees was indeed a huge pressure on the Bangladesh government.

Putting emphasis on sharing vocational training between Bangladesh and Germany, Annen said Germany has a long tradition of vocational training and it can cooperate with Bangladesh in this regard.

Principal Secretary of the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Md Nojibur Rahman, Principal Coordinator on SDGs affairs at the PMO Abul Kalam Azad, PM's Military Secretary Maj Gen Mia Md Jainul Abedin, Bangladesh Ambassador to Germany Imtiaz Ahmed, and German Ambassador to Bangladesh Thomas Prinz were present at the meeting.

The German state minister arrived in Dhaka Wednesday afternoon on a two-day visit to discuss bilateral issues, including the e-passport project.