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Friday, 18 July 2008

Transit issue

Staff Correspondent

Foreign adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury said Wednesday that the government would address the transit issue in upcoming discussions with India in such a way that it did not hamper Bangladesh's interests.

The adviser's remark comes a day ahead of the meeting between the foreign secretaries of the two countries, to be held in New Delhi.
 
"The government will not take any steps that hamper national interest," Iftekhar told reporters after a political dialogue session with the Jatiya Ganatantrik Party (National Democratic Party) at the Chief Adviser's Office.
 
Commerce adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman added: "The government will not act in any way that poses a threat to national interests or sovereignty of the country."
 
JGP president Shafiul Alam Prodhan said that his party had placed a series of important issues in the dialogue including that of Indian transit.
 
"The Bangladesh government cannot hold any discussion on transit agreements with India unless ongoing problems are resolved first including the Farakka dam, trade deficit and border shootings of Bangladeshi nationals," he said.
 
Shafiul Alam also said his party had asked the government whether it had fixed any limit to the humanitarian grounds for releasing detained political leaders.
 
Zillur Rahman replied that the government had not. The matter of release is being considered in an integrated way taking into account legal, political and humanitarian procedure, he said.
 
But if any detained political leader wanted to go abroad for better medical treatment, he must apply beforehand, the adviser added.
 
On the progress of BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia's release, Zillur did not give any direct reply. "The government is working on the legal, political and humanitarian considerations of the matter," he said.
 
The adviser said that JGP felt that the 'wrong people' were contesting as candidates for upcoming polls to city corporations and municipalities.
 
"The matter is very significant and an 'early warning' for all of us," Zillur said.
 
"The political parties must be careful about nominees. The government is also considering the matter seriously," the adviser added.
 
The adviser also said that JGP had asked whether the government was compromising with corruption. The adviser replied that the caretaker government was not taking any u-turn or making any compromises on corruption.
 
The party placed a 21-point charter of proposals to the government including relaxing the state of emergency, rational distribution of power between the president and the prime minister, and bringing an end to the system of caretaker government.

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