The leader of Bangladesh's interim government has welcomed a new U.S. resolution urging President George Bush to extend economic support to Dhaka upon completion of free and fair elections in December.
The Bangladeshi embassy in Washington says lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed the resolution Wednesday. It says the measure cites efforts by Bangladesh's caretaker government to eradicate corruption, and calls on President Bush to provide extended economic assistance to the country.
An embassy statement says U.S. lawmakers also urged Bangladesh's government to lift a state of emergency. The head of Bangladesh's caretaker government, Fakhruddin Ahmed, says the resolution recognizes the government's efforts to strengthen democracy in the country.
The interim government last week set December 18th as the date for new parliamentary elections, after nearly two years of emergency rule. The government also announced plans to hold local elections on December 24th and 28th. The Awami League, the party of former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, has said it is disappointed the government did not also announce plans to end emergency rule.
Bangladesh's military-backed interim government canceled planned general elections and imposed an emergency in January 2007, following violent protests demanding electoral reforms. The government then led an anti-corruption campaign, arresting several top politicians. Ms. Hasina and her political rival, Khaleda Zia, were arrested in the crackdown but have since been released.