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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Assistant Secretary Christina

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.






E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: Media Reaction: Assistant Secretary Christina
Rocca's Visit to Bangladesh; Dhaka

Summary: English daily "The Daily Star" says extra-judicial
killings are unacceptable to the United States. "New Age"
says the concerns expressed by Christina Rocca are, let us
say once more, those of the country as a whole. Bangla
daily "Janakantha" says that Christina Rocca's comments
reflected Bangladesh's reality.
Following are excerpts from the editorials:
--------------------------------------------- ------------
Assistant Secretary Christina Rocca's Visit to Bangladesh---
--------------------------------------------- -----------
"A Useful Interaction: U.S.Can Do More For Us"
Independent English "The Daily Star" editorially opines

We wanted Christina Rocca's visit made good use of.
Obviously, that expectation was ours -- nurtured from an
enlightened national interest point of view. What
expectations did Rocca have? She must have had her briefs,
her country perception, her government's concerns to take up
with Bangladesh government. It seems both-way traffic went
off well in Dhaka. The talks with government functionaries
yielded signs of positive outcome.
She has urged strong action on those who have masterminded
and launched a campaign of persecution against the Ahmadiyya
community. This rabid form of violence by basically anti-
religious reactionary forces is tarnishing our age-old
traditions of religious tolerance, societal harmony and
inter-communal co-existence. This is also threatening to
jeopardize our moderate Islamic country image. Rocca's
unambiguous deprecation of extra-judicial killings is gauged
from the fact that she regarded these as unacceptable to the
U.S. as it is to the rest of the international community.
There cannot be any second opinion about her observation on
political violence to the effect that it could have been
curbed by now if the culprits in the massive grenade assault
of August 21 on opposition leader Sheikh Hasina and the
lethal bomb attack on former finance minister Kibria were
caught and punished.
Her pointers to portents for extremism and terrorism in
Bangladesh should be taken seriously, not forgetting though
that we have been a victim of some extent of maligning of
our image overseas by unfriendly quarters. At the same time,
we must extricate ourselves from the denial mode we often
fall into.
All of this, we, in the media, and the broader civil society
never tired of pointing out. In fact, many of Rocca's
comments would strike a responsive chord almost universally.
Washington's assurances for support to Bangladesh's bid for
duty-free access of her goods including readymade garments
to the U.S. market are a good tiding. Bangladesh, a Muslim
majority democracy, hopes for greater U.S. cooperation in
not only fighting terrorism but also economically changing
her lot.
"Rocca's Worries - And Ours"
Independent English language "New Age" editorial says

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The concerns expressed by Christina Rocca are, let us say
once more, those of the country as a whole. The fundamental
issues of extra-judicial killings and violence against the
Ahmadiyya community are matters which have in the past three
years exercised the minds of the nation. Therefore, when the
visiting U.S. assistant secretary of state for South Asian
affairs informs the Bangladesh authorities that clear and
decisive action must be taken on these and related issues,
we hardly need reminding ourselves that these are precisely
the subjects which have led to intense trouble for us before
the global community. The very fact that the visiting
American official chose to travel down to Dhaka yet once
more and speak on matters she did earlier reflects the
persistent feeling in the country that not much has been
done by way of resolving the problems around us. Inquiries
into the 21 August grenade attack on an Awami League rally
and the murder of former finance minister Kibria are some of
the issues that need to be addressed swiftly given that a
failure to deal with them has given a bad name not just to
the government but to the nation as a whole.
"Rocca's Comments And Reality"
Large circulation pro-opposition Bangla daily "Janakantha"
editorially comments (05/15/05):
Like the people of Bangladesh Christina Rocca and the United
States also believe that whatever the government of
Bangladesh did on the investigation on the August 21 grenade
attack on the Awami League rally and on the killing of
former finance minister Kibria is a mere eye-wash and one-
sided. She said in unambiguous terms that those responsible
for the grenade attack on Sheikh Hasina's meeting on August
21 must be put on the dock. Now it is to be seen how far
the government responds or what steps it takes to solve the
It is not yet clear whether the alliance government will
accept the U.S. assistance in curbing terrorism and radical
fundamentalists. Because it is at the indulgence of the
alliance government that the radical religious extremists
have flourished. It is certain that the alliance government
does not have the mental strength or capability to take
assistance from the international community to curb
extremism. We can say in certain that Christina Rocca's
comments reflected Bangladesh's reality.

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