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US wants lifting of emergency before polls says Boucher


Visiting US Assistant Secretary of State Richard A Boucher said the United States would not accept any deviation from the path to parliamentary polls here by this year-end.

He also observed that “good elections” are not possible with a state of emergency and ban on political activities still in force. Speaking at a press conference at the American Club in the city, Boucher said, “The US believes the only path forward for Bangladesh is to have an election.

We won't accept any deviation from that." Replying to a query, he said he does not think there will be a military intervention in the country. Boucher said, "We don't think you can have a good election under a state of emergency. The emergency has to be lifted.” Besides, restrictions on the political activities must go while an environment congenial to free and open discussions should be in place, he continued. "We have been pushing for that and encouraging lifting of the emergency because that is necessary for a good and successful election." Earlier on Thursday, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs reached Dhaka in a two-day visit, and met Chief Adviser Dr Fakhruddin Ahmed and Chief of Army Staff Moeen U Ahmed. Asked about the human rights situation here, he said, “There are problems that need to be fixed, and we think those are best fixed under an elected government." Democracy is the best way to fight terrorism, safeguard human rights and ensure a sustainable development, he added.

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