Friday, February 8, 2008

Diplomatic Pressures up on the CTG

The army backed Caretaker government is facing increased international pressure to expedite democratic transition and to protect human rights in Bangladesh. Western envoys are visiting Bangladesh and diplomats are keenly observing the political progress to weigh the compliance with the election timeframe outlined by the government. US Charge D'Affairs Geeta Pasi has reiterated Washigton's demands for timely election and fruitful dialogs with the political parties. Read the rest from the Independent Bangladesh:
The US chargé d’affaires in Dhaka, Geeta Pasi, has said Washington would like to see the general elections in Bangladesh to be held in keeping with the electoral roadmap.

She disclosed her government’s stand on the national elections in Bangladesh as she talked with the special assistant to the chief adviser on the Chittagong Hill Tracts affairs, Debashis Roy, at the secretariat on Wednesday.

‘They [US government] want that the elections should be held on time,’ Debashis told reporters after the meeting. He said she had assured the government of continuous support for Bangladesh in various sectors.

‘The government should ensure that the elections are held in keeping with the roadmap,’ Debashis quoted the US diplomat as saying. The chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed, earlier announced that the parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for January 22, 2007, would be held before the end of 2008.

During the talks with the special assistant, Pasi urged the government to protect human rights. She also touched on the ongoing development activities in the Chittagong Hill Tracts and expressed her interests in more projects related to environment and forests.

Earlier on the day, Pasi also called on the housing and public works adviser, Ghulam Quader, and the special assistant to the chief adviser on the energy and mineral resources division, M Tamim, in their offices at the secretariat.

Quader told Pasi the Bangladesh government had agreed to hold dialogues with political parties. Pasi said the dialogue with political parties should be fruitful, an official source said.

‘We had a general discussion on possible developments related to forests and environment. The United States is interested in coffee cultivation in hill districts,’ Debashis, also responsible for the environment and forests ministry, said. He stressed the need for establishing a link with the ethnic groups in the United States through visit exchanges.

‘A similar team of ethnic leaders led a joint secretary will soon visit Philippines to establish such links.’ Pasi told reporters that they were concerned about environmental issues in the Chittagong Hill Tracts.

She said her government would support Bangladesh in development activities in the areas. Asked about the meeting, Tamim said, ‘It was a courtesy call which dealt with matters of mutual interests.’

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