Thursday, February 03, 2005

US gives pep talk to Bangladesh:

+ "The future of a country rooted in freedom and loyal to the principles of democratic governance such as Bangladesh hinges on its ability to remain true to these traditions, to hold free and fair elections, to combat corruption effectively and uphold the rule of law, and to treat all citizens with equal respect and dignity,"+


03/02/2005


US gives pep talk to Bangladesh:

Dhaka, Feb 3 : Citing Afghanistan and Iraq as examples, the US has advised Bangladesh not to deviate from the path of democracy and to remain "true to these traditions".

After hailing Bangladesh as an "encouraging example" of a country that has taken the democratic path, a top US official said here Wednesday that adhering to the rule of law was critical to success.

Visiting US official David A. Gross' comments at the Islamic University of Technology here came amid escalating tensions between the ruling coalition and the opposition as well as targeted killings of opposition leaders.

"In Bangladesh, with its tradition of moderation and toleration, we are optimistic about the future of freedom and democracy," Gross said.

He said democracy, despite being a "messy process", was the best way to serve citizens.

"Bangladeshis have fought hard and shed blood for the right to vote and to be governed democratically," said Gross, the US State Department's Coordinator for International Communications and Information Policy.

Saying that many Muslim countries such as Malaysia, Indonesia and even Afghanistan and Iraq had become democracies, Gross said the rule of law was an integral element of making them enduring democracies.

"This is certainly something we have seen in our country and something we believe Bangladesh sees the value of as well," he added.

But Washington, Gross insisted, would not try to push its own ideas of democracy on other countries.

"The future of a country rooted in freedom and loyal to the principles of democratic governance such as Bangladesh hinges on its ability to remain true to these traditions, to hold free and fair elections, to combat corruption effectively and uphold the rule of law, and to treat all citizens with equal respect and dignity," he said.

Gross emphasised that IT (information technology) was critical to upholding this rule of law by promoting transparency in the government and the private sector.

He noted how IT had transformed life in Bangladesh over the last decade as remote villages could avail of telecommunications and distance education.

"Here in Bangladesh new technologies such as the Internet and wireless communications have connected previously isolated villages and populations, while giving businesses the chance to operate on a global scale previously unimaginable," said Gross.