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McCain to see pre-poll situation in Bangladesh

Three senior US senators, including defeated presidential candidate John McCain, will visit Bangladesh early next month to meet its leaders ahead of a long-delayed vote.

world Updated: Nov 24, 2008 17:50 IST

Three senior US senators, including defeated presidential candidate John McCain, will visit Bangladesh early next month to meet its leaders ahead of a long-delayed vote, a US official said on Monday.

McCain, who has an adopted child from Bangladesh, Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham will meet officials from the interim government that has promised to hold a free, fair and credible election on Dec. 29.

US embassy spokesman Harvey Sernovitz said the visit was part of a broader regional trip. He did not give details on the timing of the visit.

"They will discuss bilateral issues with the government and civil society leaders (and) ... may also meet top politicians and monitor pre-election conditions in Bangladesh," Sernovitz said.

American and European diplomats say the army-backed interim authority should lift a state of emergency, as demanded by the political parties, ahead of the election to allow unrestricted campaigning and fair voting.

The United Nations sent a pre-election watch team to Dhaka on Sunday, which will report back to the U.N. headquarters before the election. They will return again to monitor the election.

Bangladesh has been run by the interim government under emergency rule since January 2007, with a promise to crackdown on political corruption, carry out political and electoral reforms and then hold a fair and acceptable election.