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Volume 455: debated on Wednesday 10 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps her Department is taking to urge restraint and compromise among Bangladesh’s political parties and to defuse tension ahead of the national parliamentary elections. (112797)

We continue to take a very close interest in the political process and preparations for the elections due in Bangladesh. My right hon. Friend the Minister of State for Trade during a visit to Dhaka in November, emphasised to the leaders of the main parties the need for responsible leadership and restraint. Officials from our high commission in Dhaka continue to press the political parties to act positively and constructively towards ensuring free, fair and accepted elections. Our high commissioner in Dhaka did so most recently when he met the leaders of the main parties on 24 December and on 1 January.