US Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs-Designate Ambassador Thomas Shannon concluded his brief Dhaka visit on Monday expressing his hope that the December-30 municipal elections in Bangladesh would ‘be free, fair, and peaceful’.Shannon, currently Counselor of the US Department of State, laid emphasis on ‘inclusiveness and openness’ during his interactions with representatives from various sectors in Bangladesh, according to a diplomatic source.
In all of his meetings, Ambassador Shannon discussed the December municipal elections in Bangladesh and shared his country’s experiences on strengthening democracy without prescribing any ‘action’, said the source.
Ambassador Shannon met Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, senior government and parliamentary leaders, as well as opposition parties, media, civil society, and labour representatives.
Shannon also visited a USAID-funded healthcare clinic and delivered remarks on bilateral relations at the Bangladesh Institute of International and Strategic Studies, said a press release issued by the US Embassy in Dhaka.
He noted the ongoing cooperation in security, trade, development, climate change, women’s empowerment, and countering violent extremism.
Ambassador Shannon said the Bangladesh-US partnership is one whose strength, resilience and potential will only grow with time.
He was impressed with Bangladesh’s development success and its continued growth, putting it on track to achieve lower-middle income status soon, said the press release.
In his meeting with PM Hasina, he congratulated her for her global leadership on climate change, development, and women’s empowerment issues.
He reaffirmed the value that the United States places on its relationship with Bangladesh and conveyed the continued friendship and support of the US people.
In his meeting with opposition leader Roushan Ershad, Ambassador Shannon expressed support for the role of opposition parties in ensuring a vibrant, healthy democracy.
In his meeting with former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, Ambassador Shannon commended the BNP’s decision to contest municipal elections in December.
During the visit, he was accompanied by Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asian Affairs Nisha Desai Biswal and Deputy Assistant Secretary for South Asia Manpreet Singh Anand.
His trip, one of the first bilateral visits he has made since being nominated, highlighted the importance the United States places on its partnership with Bangladesh.
Shannon left for Sri Lanka on Monday afternoon.