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US senate committee expresses grave concern over Bangladesh

New Age Online

The US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations has expressed grave concerns over the political deadlock in Bangladesh after a meeting on Wednesday to discuss a resolution on it, reports bdnews24.com.
The resolution stressed the 'critical need' for political reforms in Bangladesh.
Senators Richard Durbin, Michael B Enzi, Christopher S Murphy, John Boozman and Barbara Boxer submitted the resolution on Dec 11, where it said that the conflict between the ruling and opposition parties was, 'distracting from the important needs of the country'.
The Senate Committee discussed the resolution in a meeting presided by Senator Robert Menendez on Wednesday 2.15pm (Washington DC time) at the Capitol Building.
Bangladeshi embassy's press minister Swapan Saha said that they were aware of the meeting but could not learn about its details.
bdnews24.com was told by Senator Menendez's office that they will not be able to publish the details of the resolution before Friday.
An official of the Foreign Relations Committee told bdnews24.com that the committee expressed 'grave concerns' as there was no 'apparent progress' of dialogue to resolve the political deadlock in Bangladesh, even after Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina over phone.
The meeting emphasised on measures recommended by UN Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco to carry forward the dialogue between the two major political parties, the official said.
The official, preferring anonymity as he was not authorised to speak to the media, said, quoting Senator Menendez that the US does not hope for a situation to arise that will 'jeopardise democracy' in Bangladesh.
The resolution said that the Bangladeshi government eliminated the constitutional provision requiring the governing party to cede power to a neutral caretaker government three months before an election.
It also said that hundreds died in recent clashes, erupted as a result of political violence and unrest.
The war crime trials held by the International Crime Tribunal have fallen short of international standards, according to the resolution.
In the wake of such situation, the resolution submitted by Richard Durbin on behalf of five Senators forwarded six specific recommendations to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations.
-- The Senate to condemn political violence in Bangladesh and urge political leaders to engage directly and substantively in a dialogue toward free, fair, and credible elections.
--Urge political leaders in Bangladesh to take immediate steps to rein in and to condemn the violence as well as to provide space for peaceful political protests.
--Express concern about the continued political deadlock in Bangladesh that distracts from the country’s many important challenges.
-Urge political leaders in Bangladesh to ensure the safety and access of observers in its upcoming elections.
--To support the ongoing efforts by United Nations Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco to foster political dialogue between political parties in Bangladesh; and
-- Urge the Bangladeshi government to ensure judicial independence, end harassment of human rights activists, and restore the independence of the Grameen Bank.
Earlier on Nov 20, the US Congress Foreign Affairs Sub-committee expressed its concerns over the political situation in Bangladesh in a hearing.




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