US to assist Bangladesh in warding off terrorism

June 14th, 2009 - 11:47 pm ICT by IANS  

Sheikh Hasina Dhaka, June 14 (DPA) A senior State Department official Sunday renewed US government’s promise to help Bangladesh protect itself from possible terrorist threats.
“We are here to help you to protect your people from those who wish to destabilise your democracy through terrorism and extremism,” Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert O. Blake told a press conference as he wrapped up his maiden visit to Bangladesh.

“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,” he told reporters.

Blake also said the US will assist in guarding Bangladesh’s non-demarcated maritime boundary with India and Myanmar.

He called on Bangladeshi officials to take steps to hamper the activity of terrorist groups like Jamaatul Mujaheedin Bangladesh (JMB) in the region. He also praised Bangladesh’s move to form a South Asian task force against terrorism.

“I know that there are proposals here in Bangladesh to establish a South Asian task force and that might be one of the mechanisms to increase cooperation between countries,” he said.

During his two-day stay in Dhaka, the US official met Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, parliamentary opposition leader Khaleda Zia, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, and Home Minister Sahara Khantun.

On the issue of prosecuting war crimes stemming from Bangladesh’s 1971 independence war, Blake urged authorities not to politicise the matter, saying the government should maintain accountability.

He also said he backed investigations into alleged extrajudicial killings by law enforcement agencies.

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