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Tuesday, October 28, 2014, Kartik 13, 1421, Muharram 3, 1436 Hijr


Situation peaceful after January 5 elections: PM
Observer Online Desk
Publish Date : 2014-10-28,  Publish Time : 18:33,  View Count : 27
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has said a peaceful situation is prevailing in the country now after the January 5 elections following which the world leaders extended support to her government.

"Boycott of some parties did not affect the last elections.... many feared that the chaotic situation created by some opposition parties before the election would continue afterwards. But that did not happen as people do not like recurrence of such violence and anarchy," she said.

The Prime Minister made the remarks in an interview with the Gulf News, published on Sunday, during her three-day official visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh Jatiya Sangsad Speaker had been elected executive chairperson of the prestigious Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) and one of parliament members was elected as President of Inter-parliamentary Union (IPU) recently.

About the scrapping of the caretaker government system, Sheikh Hasina said the system has been declared unconstitutional by the highest court of the country.

"Interestingly, the system was challenged in the highest court by a citizen during the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) regime. Everybody would have to abide by the order of the highest court," she said.

Responding to a question about relations with India, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh always has wonderful relations with India irrespective of the ruling party in New Delhi.

"It is natural to have some problems between neighbours. But my policy has been to have bilateral talks without any mediator, which has solved many problems including disputes on Ganges water sharing and border demarcation," she said.

"I had a cordial meeting with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New York recently and relations are excellent," she added.

Sheikh Hasina said she wants peace not only in Bangladesh, but also neighbouring countries, which is essential for progress. "That's why we will not allow our soil to be used for any destructive activities against anybody."

She noted that economic cooperation and connectivity are the most important things for South Asia.. "[I found the same feeling] when I visited India, Myanmar and China too. China and Afghanistan being the observers in SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation] is a good development."

Talking about the materialization of an idea of setting up a Bangladesh, China, India, Myanmar (BCIM) economic corridor, Sheikh Hasina said she had fruitful discussions with Chinese leaders on the issue during her recent visit to Beijing.

The Prime Minister said Bangladesh also wants to expand the relationship with the Gulf in trade, tourism, investment and strategic partnership for economic development.

 Meanwhile, in a separate interview published in the Khaleej Times on Monday, the Prime Minister said Bangladesh is looking to bolster its trade ties with the UAE and attract foreign investments towards new sectors such as port, energy, power, real estate, civil aviation, tourism and telecommunications.

"Bangladesh's economy has continued to grow amid challenges ... All macro-economic indicators remain strong as we speak. Our exports continued to grow double-digit to more than $30.5 billion, while remittance continued to grow, reaching its peak to $14.46 billion in 2013-14," she said.

As a result, Sheikh Hasina said, Bangladesh's foreign exchange reserves also shot up and currently remain stable at around $22 billion - the highest in its history.

She said the investment climate is now much better in Bangladesh than before. "We have also ensured political stability. We are now trying to promote our attractiveness to large investor groups, including from the UAE and Middle East," she said.

While talking about "blue economy" concept of Bangladesh, the Prime Minister said it offers an approach to sustainable development better suited to circumstances, constraints and challenges for the countries with coastal belt and islands.

Responding to a question about present Bangladesh-UAE ties, Sheikh Hasina said her government has already allocated and handed over a plot of land in the important diplomatic enclave Gulshan in capital Dhaka for the UAE Embassy.

The Prime Minister said the present economic relations between the two countries are also excellent. "A Joint Economic Commission is now sincerely working to provide a broad framework for economic cooperation," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said her visit to the oil-rich Gulf nation aims to review entire gamut of bilateral relations between Bangladesh and the UAE, which is rooted (in) ... the historic and ideological ethos based on mutual understanding, respect and similarity in faith and views.

"This is a continuation of my immediate past tour to the UAE in January, 2011, for furthering the level of Bangladesh-UAE partnership to a comprehensive, strategic and sustainable level.

BSS/ZA





Editor : Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury
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