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Diplomats hopeful of polls by Dec PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 17 January 2008

Staff Correspondent

 Dhaka's international community, especially diplomats of the United States and the United Kingdom, on Tuesday expressed their confidence that the next general elections would be held by December as declared by the interim government of Fakhruddin Ahmed.

They expressed their confidence that the general elections would be held by the declared deadline as foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed briefed the heads of missions and donor agencies at the foreign ministry. 'I am hopeful, I am confident and I am certain that elections will be held by the end of 2008,' US charge d'affaires Geeta Pasi told newsmen after emerging from the meeting.

'The foreign affairs adviser has assured us that there will be elections by December 2008. The progress towards election is still on the right track,' said British High Commissioner Anwar Choudhury. The top UK diplomat, quoting the foreign affairs adviser, told newsmen that there would be election by December or earlier. Iftekhar told newsmen that the government's plan to hold dialogues with political parties would open a new chapter, and echoed the chief adviser's assurance of lifting restrictions on indoor politics.

He said elections would be held by December, or earlier if possible. The interim government needs the cooperation of the international community, national community, political parties and the press to accomplishing the prime task of conducting fair and acceptable elections, he added. 'It is not an easy task to build a political consensus, but we need such a consensus to guide us to free and peaceful elections,' said the adviser.

'Failure is not an option; we have to succeed.' He told reporters that the process to hold the election has begun in real earnest and it has international endorsement. In reply to a question, he said the state of emergency needs to be withdrawn, but the council of advisers would decide when it should go.

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