After meeting with top Bangladesh military and civilian officials, Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld would not say whether he specifically asked the Dhaka government to dispatch troops to help keep the peace in Iraq, saying only that the United States welcomes troop contributions from any country willing to send them.
But a U-S defense official who asked to remain anonymous told reporters before the meetings, American officials were hoping Bangladesh would consider contributing troops to the Iraq mission, and that the issue would be discussed during Secretary Rumsfeld's brief stop here.
The Bangladesh government has repeatedly made clear it would only dispatch troops to Iraq, if the peacekeeping mission is put under a U-N mandate and control, and Foreign Minister Morshed Khan repeated that view after Saturday's talks.
Secretary Rumsfeld who was scheduled to address the press conference did not turn up and US Ambassador Harry K Thomas stood in for him.
Asked if the US has got any indication from Dhaka for sending troops to Iraq, the Ambassador briefly replied, “The issue was not raised.”