US Assistant Secretary of State
for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert O Blake has said that the United States would help
Bangladesh in strengthening democracy and continue its assistance for the
development of Bangladesh. He urged both the government and the opposition to
work together to ensure the grooming of democracy in the country.
Addressing a press briefing while
wrapping up his two-day visit on Sunday, he also assured that US would not
support any action which could thwart the democratic process and hinder the
progress in Bangladesh.
"The U.S. welcomed the free, fair, and transparent elections Bangladesh
held last December. This proves that Bangladeshis want democracy.
The United States is proud to have supported this effort. We will
continue to support Bangladesh as it extends its democratic roots. We
also are here to help you develop your economy, feed and educate your citizens
and respond to natural disasters. And we are here to help you protect
your people from those who wish to destabilize your democracy through terrorism
and extremism" he said.
Asked to comment on the opposition's absence from the parliament, the US
diplomat noted that now it was the new beginning for both the opposition and
the government to work together.
Asked about the government's move
for holding trial of the war criminals, Blake said that in his discussions with
the government high ups here he urged them to maintain accountability in the
trial process and not to make the trial politicized.
In this connection he also mentioned that the government should not take any
action which could impede the democratic process as the country 'has just had
freest and fairest elections' in its history through which democracy had been
Blake who arrived in Dhaka on
Saturday in his first visit after his appointment as the Assistant Secretary of
state for South and Central Asian affairs last month, met Foreign Minister Dipu
Moni and Home Minister Sahara Khatun . Prior to hos departure he also met Prime
Minister Sheikh Hasina .
On Saturday he met the leader of
the Opposition BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.
In his written statement he also focused on the US President Obama's speech in
Cairo saying that President Obama is committed to improving the U.S.
relationship with the Muslim world.