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Fresh polls, dialogue BD's internal issue: Mozena

By UNB, DHAKA
29th-Sep-2014       
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US Ambassador in Dhaka Dan W Mozena on Sunday described the BNP's demand for fresh polls and political dialogue as 'internal issue' indicating a sharp shift from what he used to say on Bangladesh's political issues before and after January 5 election.
"I think that's (fresh election) an internal issue which the political parties of Bangladesh and the people of Bangladesh will need to resolve…they'll resolve that at some point," he told the diplomatic correspondents at the Jatiya Press Club in the city.
The US diplomat came up with the remarks when a reporter drew his attention to the BNP's demand for fresh election and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's latest stance on dialogue with BNP as she ruled out the possibility of any dialogue and fresh election.
The United States, soon after the January 5 election in Bangladesh, described the polls as 'deeply flawed' and called for fresh polls.
Diplomatic Correspondents Association, Bangladesh (DCAB) arranged the event - Dcab Talks - with its President Mainul Alam in the chair.  DCAB General Secretary Angur Nahar Monty was present.
Mozena, however, said Bangladesh's foreign friends will be there to help Bangladesh once the political parties resolve the issue. "When they do it, friends of Bangladesh will stand by it to help in whatever way it can be."
The US diplomat, who seemed extremely happy to have completed visiting the 64 districts, said that during his conversation with people across the country, he focused on Bangladesh's development, economic growth and how people can contribute to the growth. "Our conversations were focused on development, economic growth and contribution towards building Bangladesh Asian tiger. We talked about healthcare situation," Mozena said adding that Bangladeshis are very political people and some people talked about politics.
Responding to question on three components - democracy, development and denial to space for terrorism, the US envoy said America promotes a Bangladesh that is peaceful, secured, prosperous, healthy and democratic.
"We do that because it's good, especially good for the people of Bangladesh. We do that because it's good for South Asia," he said expressing his satisfaction over the progress in Bangladesh-US partnership, terming it broader, deeper and stronger than ever.
Mozena said, he did never talk about poor Bangladesh as he knows a Bangladesh which is very rich and it will some day turn into next Asian tiger.
The US envoy, who sees enormous potential in Bangladesh, said corruption, red-tape, infrastructure, energy supply and political instability are the major challenges ahead of Bangladesh which need to be resolved to help Bangladesh grow further.
"All these challenges have solutions. There're so many options for solving problems," he said.
On eradicating corruption and ensuring good governance, Mozena said these are issues of 'commitment' and 'will'.
He said, Bangladesh needs to go for aggressive exploration for onshore and offshore energy resources, especially gas. "Nobody knows what Bangladesh has. May be it is sitting over an ocean of gas. Who knows what is in the Bay of Bengal? These resources can be tapped.'
Responding to another question, the US ambassador said so many international oil companies are interested in exploring potential for gas in Bangladesh.
He said, there is broad international interest regarding the matter and some American companies are also interested.
On investment, Mozena said private investors will feel encouraged to invest in Bangladesh if there is better rule of law. "People can invest when they feel investment is safe through effective rule of law, and red-tape and corruption are minimized."
He said people would come up with billions of dollars in Asia and it should be massively coming into Bangladesh too. "This is a great place to invest."
Asked about the risk for Bangladeshi companies dealing with Russian companies, the US diplomat said: "Honestly that's a legal question and I don't know the answer to that…but our view is that all nations should stand together."
The United States recently urged the Bangladesh government to consult with Bangladeshi companies and make them aware about US sanction issues related to Russia to avoid any potential sanctions.
Asked to clarify the US position on media report that US intelligence is backing a move to set out a government of national consensus ousting the Sheikh Hasina government in Bangladesh, Mozena binned such claim saying 'You know, I know that's all trash."
Asked about the GSP issue, he said the issue is not really an issue of GSP but transformation of Bangladesh's apparel sector to bring it to international standard.
"Bangladesh, in my view, has made significant progress and additional progress is needed," the diplomat said adding that Bangladesh will decide whether it wants to become number one or not by setting the global standard.
He also said this (transformation) is a revolution what is happening in Bangladesh and termed the situation before and after the Rana Plaza disaster as 'day and night difference.'
In his opening remarks, Mozena shared his experience of visiting the 64 districts and depicted a beautiful Bangladesh. "I'm so lucky to visit 64 districts in Bangladesh," he said.

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