US to continue support for polls by 2008 | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, November 12, 2007 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, November 12, 2007

US to continue support for polls by 2008

Says Geeta Pasi

US Charge d’Affaires in Dhaka Geeta Pasi yesterday said her country would continue to support the caretaker government to ensure that the general election is held before the end of 2008.
"Journalists and civil society members should carefully watch the issues that will come up ahead of the election," she said while speaking as chief guest at the inaugural function of a programme titled 'Cooperative Medical Mission between the US and Bangladesh Armies' at Bangladesh Institute of Community Ophthalmology and Eye Hospital at Alekharchar in Comilla.
Geeta Pasi assured that the US will continue to assist Bangladesh in improving the lives of its people by strengthening democratic governance, and promoting prosperity and stability.
"Sustained and increased economic growth is needed to keep Bangladesh on the path of poverty reduction," she added.
Asked on recent dismay of a faction of the BNP over an Election Commission letter asking for dialogue with it, Geeta Pasi said there will be questions and debates, but the bigger goal is to hold a free and fair election to get back democracy in Bangladesh.
Expressing her satisfaction over the preparation of voter list, she said the election should be held with the participation of political parties.
Under the Medical Readiness Training Exercise (MEDRETE), an exchange programme on medical training, the armies of the US and Bangladesh will provide free medical care to the locals in Comilla till November 16.
The services include medical, dental and eye care and specialised paediatric services for children.
Animals will also receive veterinary care from a special MEDRETE vet team.
The team, in cooperation with Bangladesh Army, will also work at a clinic at Haimchar in Chandpur.
"This exercise will provide a wonderful forum for us to share information and ideas with Bangladesh military on medical issues. American participants will learn from Bangladeshi participants who in turn will also learn from their American colleagues," said Geeta Pasi.
She said an immediate goal of the programme is to increase the inter-operability between the military medical departments of the two countries and to assist the Bangladesh Army in its efforts to create a self-sustaining advanced medical first aid.
Such exercise also paves the way for future medical collaboration between the US and Bangladesh militaries, Geeta Pasi said, adding, "It also highlights the important role that both the countries' militaries can play in supporting humanitarian programmes."
Col Thomas M Bailey, leader of the US medical team, Brig Gen M Nizamuddin of Bangladesh Army, and Dr Zobaida Hannan, general secretary of Comilla unit of Bangladesh Jatiya Andha Kallyan Samity, also spoke on the occasion.
Following the inaugural ceremony, Geeta Pasi visited a Smiling Sun Clinic funded by USAID, Shalban Bihar at Mainamati, a market of traditional 'khadi' clothes and Matri Bhandar, a traditional sweetmeat shop in Comilla.

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