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Friday, April 2, 2010

US House encourages Bangladesh reconciliation

Source: sifynews

Bangladesh
is making progress toward joining a key aid program for democracies, the US House of Representatives has said as it urged leaders to turn the page on bitter partisanship.

In a resolution late Thursday, the House expressed its "strong support for the people of Bangladesh" and saluted the country's return to democratic rule in December 2008 elections.

The House "urges the government of Bangladesh to work together with all political leaders to continue and deepen reconciliation," the resolution said.

It also called on Bangladesh to ensure the rights of religious and ethnic minorities, including Hindus and the Ahmadi sect.

The resolution said Bangladesh is "making progress" to join the Millennium Challenge Corporation, a US aid program that has granted billions of dollars to nations deemed as respecting political and economic freedom.

Representative Joseph Crowley, who sponsored the resolution, said that despite Bangladesh's myriad challenges, the 160-million-strong nation has made progress on democracy, women's rights and fighting extremism.

"This is exactly the kind of country the United States should work with and do more to support -- not because the situation on the ground is perfect, but because by working together, we have clearly created a better path forward," the New York Democrat said.

"I hope the international community will more quickly wake up to the positive changes Bangladesh has made."

He noted that a year and a half ago, the US Congress passed a resolution out of fear that Bangladesh was "creeping toward authoritarianism" after the military took charge in 2006 and canceled elections.

A total of 380 lawmakers voted for the resolution. Seven members, all Republicans, voted no, while 42 others did not take part in the late-night vote.

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