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US asks Bangladesh to lift ban on politics

A US representative says lifting the ban on politics is critical in bringing about positive change in Bangladesh.

world Updated: Aug 01, 2007 20:14 IST

The United States has asked the interim government in Bangladesh to lift the ban on politics, saying arbitrary application of the ban has been a concern both domestically and internationally.

"Dialogue is part and parcel of an effective reform process. As such, lifting the ban on politics is absolutely critical as a kick-start to positive change in Bangladesh," US Charge d' Affaires Geeta Pasi told a meeting of a business chamber on Tuesday.

Pasi, however, said lifting the ban did not mean "ushering back the culture of violent partisan street politics," a reference to Bangladesh's volatile politics featured by obstinate stance by two major parties over the abortive January polls.

"Rather, it would signal that there is a room for a new, constructive political discourse, and help guarantee that this new breeze of reform can permeate the political parties," she said.

Her comments came a week after US President George W Bush appreciated Bangladesh's election roadmap.

The US envoy re-affirmed support for the anti-graft campaign but added "to make a real break with the past and to earn the Bangladesh people's confidence, the government needed to ensure corruption cases were prosecuted fairly, transparently and without "selectivity or political motivation".

"This is a time of great opportunity in Bangladesh's history" the political, social and economic investments you make today are the venture capital of a new future for Bangladesh that must include a clear and unwavering focus on democratic values," she told the people present in the meeting.