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UK minister arrives in Dhaka today PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 31 July 2008

Staff Correspondent

The UK's Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Hazel Blears has said interests of Britain and Bangladeshi people depend on the restoration of democracy.

"Sustainable democracy has to be the ultimate goal for Bangladesh. The UK's interests in Bangladesh, and those of the Bangladeshi people, depend on establishing a stable and democratic Bangladesh," Blears said in a statement released Wednesday, on the eve of her visit to Bangladesh.

Blears is set to arrive in Dhaka Thursday on a two-day visit.

"That's why it is crucial for all sides to be prepared to engage positively and constructively in the process to ensure a smooth transition to an elected government in 2008," Blears said in the statement issued by the British High Commission in Dhaka.

One of the objectives of her visit is find out the ways of providing Bangladesh assistance to eliminate extremism.

Blears is the fifth UK minister to visit Bangladesh since December last year.

UK Secretary of State for International Development Douglas Alexander visited Bangladesh on December 19 last year.

British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs David Miliband arrived in Bangladesh on Feb 8 on a two-day visit. UK home minister Jacqui Smith came to Bangladesh on April 8.

UK Junior Minister for International Development Shahid Malik toured Bangladesh on June 20.

During her first official visit to Bangladesh, Blears will seek to gain a "deeper understanding of issues relevant to British-Bangladeshi communities in the UK".

She will also try to explore the ways of strengthen the UK's bilateral relationship with Bangladesh through community links, according to the statement said.

Blears will try to gain ideas on how the UK government could work with communities in Bangladesh to help prevent extremism, according to the statement.

Blears was expected to meet senior members of the caretaker government, representatives of the civil society and the British-Bangladeshi community, the statement said.

She will also visit UK-funded projects on women's empowerment and access to education.

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