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Tuesday, 27 May 2008

US shipment of wheat arrives

Staff Reporter

US ambassador James F Moriarty has said he is confident that the caretaker government will proceed towards a free and fair election with the cooperation of the people and political parties.

The ambassador expressed his optimism that the polls will take place according to the election roadmap, speaking to reporters after seeing a US shipment of 46,000 tonnes of wheat arrive at Chittagong port for Sidr survivors.

On whether the US envoy would take any initiatives to ensure the presence of major parties Awami League and BNP in the ongoing formal talks with the government, Moriarty said it was an internal matter for those concerned.

The US diplomat termed corruption and terrorism as major problems in Bangladesh and said his country would provide its constant support to overcome them.

He praised the recent reform measures at Chittagong port and pledged to provide all possible cooperation in such reforms and other initiatives on behalf of his country.

Moriarty said the US had provided food assistance to Bangladesh totalling over $5 billion since independence. The assistance was meant to strengthen friendly relations between the two countries and help achieve food security for Bangladesh, he said.

The ambassador added that food security was crucial for social security. Food security can protect a family from having to resort to antisocial and harmful deeds, he said.

The US has doubled its food supply to Bangladesh considering rising demand, Moriarty said.

This year the US government sent emergency food assistance of $30 million beyond its regular assistance and $48 million just for the cyclone ravaged areas, he said.

Moriarty said the measure of bilateral assistance between Bangladesh and the US was 'the three Ds' -- democracy, development and denial to terrorism.

Food security was a priority for development which in turn was important for both democracy and overcoming terrorism, he said.

The US embassy was working to ensure that nobody was left hungry, he added.

Moriarty was accompanied by USAID's Dhaka mission director Denise Rollins and Chittagong port chairman Commodore M Faruk among others on Sunday.

The ambassador had earlier visited different USAID projects at a slum in the city's Ambagan area.

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