Less food imports, more political stability: Hasina assures US

December 16th, 2008 - 11:52 am ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Dec 16 (IANS) Bangladesh would strive to depend less on food imports, resuscitate the economy, ensure political stability and fight terrorism, former prime minister Sheikh Hasina, who hopes to return to power in the Dec 29 poll, has told the US. Hasina took time off from her hectic campaign Monday to have a two-hour meeting with US Ambassador James F. Moriarty to discuss a host of issues, including religious militancy, which is high among the US concerns, The Daily Star reported.

Hasina had ended her five-month stay in the US earlier this year for medical treatment by meeting US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher, ostensibly to project her party Awami League (AL) and the Grand Alliance it has formed with other parties as the moderate political alternative.

Although Moriarty had studied the AL poll manifesto and praised its content at the meeting, Hasina dwelt on the party’s “Vision 2021″ that speaks of economic strides, of digitising and other modern scientific advancements, and promises to fight corruption in a country rated high on that score.

Moriarty told reporters that the US thinks of the general election in Bangladesh as a “transformational” election through which the country will get a strong democracy.

When he sought to know about the source of resources for implementing the long-term pledges made in the manifesto, Hasina informed the envoy that AL would be able to implement the pledges by taking some measures, party official H.T. Imam said.

“If we can increase food production, we won’t need to import food. Price of oil in international market has also decreased and this will save huge money for Bangladesh,” Imam quoted the AL chief as saying.

Sending highly skilled labourers instead of unskilled ones to different countries will be another big source of resources, Hasina told Moriarty.

Moreover, Bangladesh’s volume of export and import of capital goods is also increasing day by day. So it will not be a problem to generate the necessary resources for implementing the pledges made in the Awami League manifesto, Imam said.

Imam said Hasina sought cooperation from the US government in some sectors like agro-based industries, and construction of towns outside of the main Bangladesh cities.

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