Mozena hopes for consensus on credible elections

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US Ambassador Dan W Mozena expressed his firm belief that the ruling and opposition parties in Bangladesh would reach an understanding to end the political crisis well ahead of the next general election, as he visualizes a better future of the people under demo-cracy.

“Bangladesh is, must be, should be and will be a democracy. Bangladesh has had experienced other forms of governments but they did not have much success. This country can only be a democracy,” he categorically said.

The US envoy stressed that the two sides in the political divide must reach an agreement to end the political standoff because if democracy is not establis-hed through elections participated by all, foreign investment in Bangladesh would be severely affected despite having plentiful of potential for this country’s economic growth.

Mozena made the remarks during exchange of views while visiting East West Media Group Limited of Bashundhara Group Monday. Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan welcomed the American diplomat with bouquet at the conference room of the EWMGL.

EWMGL chairman Mustafa Kamal Mohiuddin, daily sun acting editor Amir Hossain, Daily Kaler Kantha editor Imdadul Huq Milan, Bangladesh Pratidin editor Naeem Nizam and web portal banglanews24.com editor-in-chief Alamgir Hossain were among others present at the exchange-of-views meeting.

The four editors presented Mozena crests on behalf of their respective newspapers.

Senior journalists of the four news media and EWMGL officials were also present at the function.

In response to a question about the ongoing political crisis in Bangladesh over the process of holding the next general election, the US envoy hoped the political parties would reach an agreement in this regard and start dialogue any day for this.

“To have a meaningful electoral process there must have participation of the major players,” the US diplomat said.

In response to a question about relationship between Bangladesh and the United States, Mozena emphatically said the ties between the two countries are “excellent”. And he is pleased with the progress in advancing the bilateral relationship of the two countries since his appointment as ambassador to Bangladesh.

He said some of his dreams as an ambassador to Bangladesh have come true. The visit of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to Bangladesh and the signing of partnership dialogue between Bangladesh and the USA are two of his dreams.

“But I like to do more,” the ambassador said, holding out assurances of cooperation in realizing the potential of Bangladesh to grow as a middle-income country.

Regarding Nobel laureate Professor Yunus and Grameen Bank issue Mozena said ‘friends have issues’ and this issue did not affect the relationship of Bangladesh and the USA.

The USA has expressed deep concern about the Grameen bank as it has very much support to the philosophy that is manifest in the Brameen Bank. The USA wants to see the unique governing system of Grameen Bank preserved and the new managing director of the bank is beyond reproach, Mozena added.

About the proposed Trade and Investment Cooperation Framework Agreement (TICFA), he said it’s a very simple treaty meant for identifying the obstacles before increasing trade and how to remove these obstacles.

The US government has agreed in this regard. Now Bangladesh itself should decide if it is good or bad, he added.

Praising Bangladesh as a blessed country the US envoy said he had traveled many places of the country and saw the blessings it possesses and expressed the hope to visit all the sixty four districts of the country.

He eulogized people of Bangladesh as exceptional, energetic, generous and real entrepreneurs and predicted that Bangladesh would be a middle-income country soon and “is the next Asian Tiger”.

Bashundhara Group Chairman Ahmed Akbar Sobhan in his welcome speech said the ambassador’s people-to-people diplomacy is making the relationship between the two countries and its people more intimate.

“The US ambassador has proved to be a real friend to Bangladesh and its people. His endevour and dedication will contribute greatly towards flourishing the bilateral relationship between the USA and Bangladesh,” he said.

One of the major objectives behind establishing the East West Media Group Limited was to create a media platform which is free, fair and unbiased. EWMGL is determined to speak for people and work sincerely for strengthening democratic institutions, he told the function.

“Where the significance of a free and effective press lies is in the practice of democracy in a developing country,” the Bashundhara Group chairman said.

EWMGL chairman Mustafa Kamal Mohiuddin briefed about the four media outlets of the biggest media group of the country.

“We do highlight human rights issues, women empowerment, food security and other related issues keenly necessary for creating awareness among Bangladesh people. Besides, we are keenly observing and keep on highlighting on our newspapers the financing issues of Padma Bridge by the World Bank as well as management-restructuring issues of the Grameen Bank,” he said.

He urged both the US and Bangladesh governments to work together to resolve the Padma Bridge issue and go ahead.

He also highly appreciated US government’s support in eliminating terrorist activities in the country.

Mohammad Abu Tayeb, Media Adviser, Bashundhara Group, moderated the exchange-of-views meeting.

Golam Mehrab, International Affairs Adviser of Bashundhara Group, also addressed the function.

Brigadier (Retd) Sheikh Ahmed Muktadir, senior executive director of EWMGL, was also present at the programme.

The US ambassador went round the offices of the four media outlets of EWMGL.

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