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Bush hails 'non-communal democracy'

world Updated: Jan 11, 2009 12:35 IST

Outgoing US President George W. Bush called up newly sworn in Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to congratulate her on her victory and hailed the recent polls for ushering in "a non-communal democracy" in the country.

Hasina in turn emphasised the need to evolve a "joint initiative to fight terrorism in South Asia".

Bush telephoned Hasina late Saturday to congratulate her on her "huge victory".

She told Bush that terrorism was "one of the main problems in South Asia", New Age newspaper said quoting an official announcement.

During the call, Hasina thanked Bush and said the support and cooperation of the United States, along with other countries, towards holding free, fair and credible elections in Bangladesh was "commendable".

The Bush administration had repeatedly cautioned the Khaleda Zia government and the caretaker government that governed for two year till last month's poll on the rise of religious extremism and militancy in Bangladesh.

Thanks to the American disapproval, the Zia government, which denied the existence of Islamist forces, proscribed four terrorist organisations and brought some of their leaders to book.

A joint initiative among the South Asian nations is one of the poll pledges of Hasina who won the Dec 29 elections.

She has reiterated this resolve since she formed the new government.