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US reiterates hope for transparent polls

Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher said US is more concerned about the process of election rather than the outcome.

india Updated: Aug 04, 2006 12:43 IST

In an effort to support a free and fair general election in Bangladesh, US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher told top officials of Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's government that "we are concerned about the process of the election" rather than the outcome, BDNews  news agency reported.

Wrapping up his visit to Dhaka, Boucher on Thursday prescribed two options to end current political impasse - dialogue between the two major parties or following constitutional means.

"It is important that all parties participate in the elections. There are two options - have dialogue by sitting down or the constitutional way," Boucher said.

Boucher met Zia's advisor Reaz Rahman, who told the media, "Basically we discussed the prevailing last 15 years' democratic and electoral process in Bangladesh, socio-economic condition, and law and order situation, including the government's effort towards curbing militancy and extremism".

Bangladesh, which had phases of direct or indirect military rule since its independence in 1971, has had parliamentary democracy since 1991.

The tenure of the present Jatiya Sangsad (National Assembly) ends in October and parliamentary elections are expected early next year.

Boucher also met the family members of former finance minister SAMS Kibria, killed in a bomb explosion in 2004, and assured that the US "is with them" in their effort to nail the culprits.

"I came here to express our feelings for her husband and we made her understand that America is with her," he said after a 45-minute meeting in which he inquired about the status of the Kibria murder case.

He stressed that cases of all political murders, including Kibria's assassination, should have a fair trial in the interest of democratic process in Bangladesh, the Bangladesh Observer reported.

Kibria, who held many senior positions as a diplomat and economist before joining the Awami League on retirement, was killed in an explosion at a party rally in 2004.

The investigation and trial have been part of an acrimonious political and media debate since then.