Find solution to caretaker system row | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, June 24, 2011 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, June 24, 2011

Find solution to caretaker system row

Germany, EU urge govt, opposition to avoid politics of blockade

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Visiting German and European Union leaders yesterday said the government and the opposition in Bangladesh should work out a solution over the caretaker government dispute and avoid politics of blockade.
German Federal Minister for Economic Cooperation and Development Dirk Niebel and EU Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs came up with the identical views at a press conference organised to wrapping up their four-day visit to Bangladesh.
They also said the EU and Germany want to see free, fair and inclusive Bangladesh national elections in 2014.
EU Commissioner Andris Piebalgs said there are divergent views on a caretaker government overseeing the next elections, but the political parties have obligation to work together in the interest of the country's economy.
“Today's opposition could be tomorrow's government and vice versa. The parties have the obligation to find a solution through constructive dialogue,'' German Minister Niebel told the press conference held at the EU Head of the Delegation office yesterday evening.
The German minister referred to his own political career. He said he had been in the opposition for 12 years and two years in the government. Whatever is the number, the opposition can say and show how can they do better than the government, he said.
Replying to a question about the current impasse between the government and the opposition, they said it is up to the politicians to discuss the divergent views and find out a solution through constructive talks.
On another question about extra-judicial killings by Rab, the EU commissioner said the legal system should be followed for justice and an accused should have the chance to defend.
When asked about any impediments they had found in the implementation of EU-funded projects in Bangladesh, the minister and the commissioner were of the opinion that it takes a long time for the administration to make a decision about any development project.
The minister said with better administrative structure, the decision-making and implementation of projects should be fast.
Niebel said Germany would continue its support to the development of Bangladesh and the economic cooperation should bring in development. He stressed the importance of more engagement of the private sector in poverty alleviation.
The EU commissioner and the German minister arrived in Dhaka on June 21 for a four-day joint visit and held meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Finance Minister AMA Muhith, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid and State Minister for Environment and Forest Hasan Mahmud.
They also exchanged views with representatives of the civil society and prior to yesterday's pre-departure press conference, they met Leader of the Opposition and BNP chief Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office in the afternoon.
Khaleda told them about her party's apprehension that there will be no atmosphere for free and acceptable elections following “the government's bid to abolish non-party caretaker government system”, UNB reports.
She told them that the caretaker government provision was introduced following an Awami League movement in 1994-95. The caretaker government system is accepted by the people, she said.
During their four-day visit, the joint mission of Niebel and Piebalgs looked at EU and German bilateral development projects in Dhaka, Tongi, Satkhira and Jessore and expressed satisfaction over the development cooperation.
In reply to a question, Niebel said they want that their tax payers' money are spent effectively and efficiently to have best results.
German Ambassador to Bangladesh Holger Michael and EU Head of the Delegation Ambassador William Hanna were present at the press conference. French Ambassador Charley Causert and Danish Ambassador Savend Olling were also there.
The EU is the largest market for Bangladeshi products and Germany ranks second largest export destination only behind the USA. Trade with the EU provides Bangladesh with more than half the country's export earnings, reaching 6.5 billion Euro last year. In 2010, total trade between Bangladesh and the EU passed the 8 billion Euro mark. Both export and imports are growing rapidly.
German exports to Bangladesh, mostly machinery and electrical equipment, saw a record increase of almost 80 percent from July 2010 to March 2011 over the corresponding period of the previous year.

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