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Cablegate: Media Reaction: Codel Mccain Visit to Bangladesh

VZCZCXRO3234
RR RUEHBI RUEHCI
DE RUEHKA #1274/01 3450923
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 100923Z DEC 08 ZDK
FM AMEMBASSY DHAKA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 7907
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 0969
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 9988
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 2489
RUEHLM/AMEMBASSY COLOMBO 8749
RUEHLO/AMEMBASSY LONDON 1883
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 0343
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1595
RUEHKP/AMCONSUL KARACHI 0350
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 0991

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 DHAKA 001274

SIPDIS
CODEL

STATE FOR SCA/PB
STATE FOR SCA/PPD, PA/RRU
STATE FOR H (ANDREW MACDERMOTT)

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: KMDR OREP KPAO PGOV PREL OVIP BG
SUBJECT: MEDIA REACTION: CODEL MCCAIN VISIT TO BANGLADESH

Ref: A) Dhaka 1256; B) Dhaka 1163

DHAKA 00001274 001.2 OF 002


1. Summary and Comment: Mainstream English and Bangla-language
newspapers across the political spectrum extensively covered the
visit of Senators McCain, Lieberman and Graham to Bangladesh. (See
Ref A for more details about the Codel.) At a press conference
attended by more than 60 journalists, the Senators called on the
people and political parties of Bangladesh to accept the results of
the upcoming December 29 parliamentary elections and come together
for the good of the country. The Senators' comments received
front-page, above-the-fold coverage in most major national daily
newspapers. In addition, editorials published afterwards expressed
appreciation for the Senators' visit and echoed their comments that
the political parties should work together to create new democratic
traditions in Bangladesh. Following last month's U.S. presidential
election, many editorials and columnists cited Senator McCain's
concession speech as a model for politicians in Bangladesh (Ref B).
Senator McCain's visit at this critical time in Bangladesh's history
amplified this message. We will continue to highlight this
important theme as the country prepares for elections. End summary
and comment.

2. A selection of media reaction follows:

A. "MCCAIN URGES BANGLADESH LEADERS TO FOLLOW U.S. DEMOCRATIC
CULTURE," an editorial in the December 5 generally anti-West Bangla
daily INQILAB:

"U.S. Senator John McCain expressed hope that Bangladesh will hold a
free, fair and credible national election on 29 December and that
the contending parties would accept the outcome of the polls for the
greater national interest... Senator John McCain also expressed hope
that the defeated parties in the forthcoming elections will
congratulate the winners in line with the policy being followed in
the developed world. We think that John McCain's advice will
promote democratic values in the country's political arena."

B. "MCCAIN'S CALL TO ACCEPT ELECTION RESULT -- NOT UNEXPECTED
ADVICE," editorial in the December 5 pro-BNP Bangla daily AMAR
DESH:

"U.S. Senator John McCain's comments calling upon the political
parties to accept the election result to face future challenges can
be termed an honest suggestion from a gentleman.... It is
unfortunate that there is no culture here in Bangladesh of political
parties working together. Our political leaders think that the
people have 'rejected' a rival in an election even if the margin is
very close. On the other hand, the rival thinks that his or her
defeat was the result of poll manipulation, even if the margin is
great. Vested quarters continue to express fears of election
engineering. Under the circumstances, it is essential to follow
McCain's suggestion in the interest of developing democratic
traditions."

C. "MCCAIN'S BANGLADESH VISIT -- IDENTICAL ATTITUDE TO ESTABLISH
PEACE," editorial in the December 5 anti-fundamentalist and
pro-Awami League Bangla daily SHAMOKAL:

"During his 11-hour visit, Senator McCain met with most of the
country's key leaders, including the Chief Adviser and the Army
chief.... He emphasized that establishing a democratic tradition
requires all parties to accept the election results.... Senator
McCain's visit clearly demonstrates that Democrats and Republicans
share the same views on Bangladesh's transition to democracy. We
thank McCain and his team for visiting Dhaka at this critical time
in Bangladesh's history."

D. "THE MCCAIN VISIT," editorial in the December 5 BNP-leaning
English daily THE NEW NATION:

"If McCain's visit to Bangladesh was aimed to advise our politicians
on national harmony and stability to be created from both sides of
the divide working together and maintaining the minimum of unity in
the national interest after the coming election, then its purpose
should be viewed as very positive. It is high time for our
politicians to be ingrained with proper democratic values which in
turn would create political stability that in turn is bound to give
economic dividend."


DHAKA 00001274 002 OF 002


PASI

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