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Clinton Urges Bangladeshis to End Strife

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/world/asia/clinton-in-bangladesh-to-push-tolerance-and-trade.html
May 5, 2012
Clinton Urges Bangladeshis to End Strife
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS [Bangladesh] [SAsia] [about 4th or 5th most populous Muslim nation] [last April Muslims went on strike but that was last I read of anything in Bangladesh] [otherwise, crushing poverty] [followup] [I don’t remember Jihadis problems in Bangladesh since 2001-2004 era?] [since then, not a lot of jihadis news but Bangladesh is nearly a failed state waiting to happen] [SecState Clinton makes stop on Asia trip beseeching authoritarian govt and labor and other protestors to end the chaos for everybody’s sake] [followup, Ap 9] [cross in govt] [*]
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday urged Bangladesh’s feuding political parties to work together and end their most recent bout of discord for the good of their impoverished country.
Mrs. Clinton, the first American secretary of state to visit Dhaka, the capital, since 2003, said weeks of strikes and protests that have killed at least five people had undermined development and scared off foreign investors. The actions stem from the disappearance of an opposition leader last month. [*]

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/06/world/asia/clinton-in-bangladesh-to-push-tolerance-and-trade.html
May 5, 2012
Clinton Urges Bangladeshis to End Strife
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS [Bangladesh] [SAsia] [about 4th or 5th most populous Muslim nation] [last April Muslims went on strike but that was last I read of anything in Bangladesh] [otherwise, crushing poverty] [followup] [I don’t remember Jihadis problems in Bangladesh since 2001-2004 era?] [since then, not a lot of jihadis news but Bangladesh is nearly a failed state waiting to happen] [SecState Clinton makes stop on Asia trip beseeching authoritarian govt and labor and other protestors to end the chaos for everybody’s sake] [followup, Ap 9] [cross in govt] [*]
DHAKA, Bangladesh (AP) — Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Saturday urged Bangladesh’s feuding political parties to work together and end their most recent bout of discord for the good of their impoverished country.
Mrs. Clinton, the first American secretary of state to visit Dhaka, the capital, since 2003, said weeks of strikes and protests that have killed at least five people had undermined development and scared off foreign investors. The actions stem from the disappearance of an opposition leader last month. [*]
Violent demonstrations “exact a heavy toll, especially on Bangladesh’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens,” Mrs. Clinton said at a news conference with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni. “They also send a negative signal to the international community about the investment climate.”
She also called for a robust government investigation into the whereabouts of the opposition leader, Elias Ali, who disappeared in Dhaka on April 17, and the opposition’s accusations of a brutal crackdown on dissent. [*]
The situation in the capital has grown increasingly tense recently. General strikes have paralyzed the country, leading to the arrests of dozens of opposition activists, and homemade bombs have exploded across the city. [**]
Mrs. Clinton said it was important that “everybody take seriously any disappearance, any violence against activists, any oppression of civil society, any intimidation of the press.”
At least 22 people, mostly politicians, have disappeared this year, according to a local human rights group, Ain o Salish Kendra.
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch blame security agencies and the government for the disappearances; the government denies involvement.
Before Mrs. Clinton’s visit, the opposition suspended protests in a good-will gesture that reflects the importance Bangladeshis place on relations with the United States, one of their largest trading partners. But dozens of students paraded through the Dhaka University campus on Saturday to protest Mrs. Clinton’s arrival, chanting, “Go, go, Hillary.”[*]
In talks with civic leaders and officials — including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, an opposition leader and a former prime minister — Mrs. Clinton was emphasizing the importance of inclusive democracy and unity to improve living conditions. The United States sees Bangladesh, a Muslim nation of 160 million people, as a potentially important voice for moderation among Muslim-majority nations.
American officials say the trip aims to take ties between the nations to a new level by creating a strategic dialogue and encouraging further cooperation on counterterrorism, health, environmental and educational issues.
Officials were also expected to discuss a framework agreement to protect the huge investments of American energy giants like Chevron and ConocoPhillips. [ah, so there’s the interest] [for a year or two in the Bush admin after 9/11 U.S. demonstrated interests] [but that dropped off as jihadis threat seemed to atrophy] [now big oil has lobbied Obama admin] [*]
In Dhaka, Mrs. Clinton had been expected to discuss the ouster of Muhammad Yunus, 71, a Nobel Peace Prize laureate, from Grameen Bank, which he founded to provide small loans to the poor. The government forced him out last year. Mrs. Clinton did not mention him by name on Saturday, but said it was imperative that the government find a new managing director for the bank. She is to meet with Dr. Yunus, a family friend, on Sunday.
Dr. Yunus’s allies said the ouster was political and pointed to the prime minister’s anger at his 2007 effort to form a political party backed by the powerful army when the country was under a state of emergency. [*]

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