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US State Dept Urges Bangladesh to Quickly Hold Democratic Elections


The U.S. State Department is urging the Bangladesh interim government to quickly hold democratic elections.

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said on Wednesday that Washington is in contact with the caretaker government and has encouraged it to include opposition parties in the political process.

The military-backed interim government declared a state of emergency in January and pledged to clean up corruption in the political system before setting a new date for elections.

The interim government has tried to clear the political arena of the country's two most prominent politicians -- former prime ministers Khaleda Zia of the Bangladesh National Party and Shiekh Hasina of the opposition Awami League.

Ms. Hasina was temporarily barred from returning to Bangladesh from a trip abroad last month, and Ms. Zia is being kept under virtual house arrest.

McCormack praised the Bangladesh caretaker government for allowing Ms. Hasina to return home, calling it a positive action.

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