June 05, 2004


The US Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld is coming to Bangladesh today for a 14 hour visit presumably to discuss Bangladesh's possible interest in peacekeeping in Iraq. Yesterday, there were some protests in Dhaka city against Rumsfeld's visit by some right wing Islami parties and the leftwing communist parties. The coalition govt. (including nationalist BNP and the rightwing Jamaate Islami) and the main opposition (Awami League) have not commented anything. The opposition party has called a 24 hours hartal (general strike) today but the issue does not link to Rumsfeld's visit.

But the Bangladesh foreign minister Mr. Morhsed Khan told yesterday to the press:

"I would like to say clearly that we never send troops to shoot or get shot anywhere in the world. We never send troops to fight for somebody."

Its evident that Bangladesh won't do anything without a UN mandate. And the decision reflects the voice of the general Bangladeshis.


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