Ensure militant’s funding curbed, Hasina to urge Saudis

February 7th, 2009 - 2:08 pm ICT by IANS  

Dhaka, Feb 7 (IANS) Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is to visit Saudi Arabia later this month, her first foreign trip since assuming office, and is expected to urge Jeddah to ensure curbs on funding of militant outfits active in her country.”She is expected to request the Saudi government to take special measures so that no militant outfit in Bangladesh gets funds from any Saudi organisation or individual,” said Commerce Minister Faruk Khan.

The Daily Star Saturday said that Hasina will also seek cooperation “to root out militancy from Bangladesh”. Hasina is likely to visit Saudi Arabia in the third week of this month to perform Umrah.

“During the trip, she is also likely to explain the issue of trying war criminals,” a senior minister told the newspaper on condition of anonymity.

Top leaders of Jamaat-e-Islami, Bangladesh’s largest Islamist party with strong connections with the Saudi authorities, are accused of leading gangs that killed hundreds of unarmed civilians during the 1971 freedom movement.

The Jamaat, which shared power during 2001-06, lost badly in the Dec 29, 2008 poll.

During her talks in Jeddah, Hasina is also expected to discuss different bilateral issues and may sign an agreement aiming to enhance trade and investment between the two countries.

The prime minister may mention her Awami League’s main electoral pledges during her meetings with Saudi leaders and seek their support to implement those pledges, including recruitment of more manpower from Bangladesh and greater economic assistance for the country to create employment and alleviate poverty, the newspaper said.

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