- The Washington Times - Friday, June 27, 2003

BANGLADESH

Deep reforms urged to accelerate growth

DHAKA — The World Bank has proposed “deep reforms” to accelerate economic growth in cash-strapped Bangladesh, calling for the political system to be cleaned up to reduce bribery and encourage young leadership.

Thursday’s proposal came a week after the World Bank approved credit support for Bangladesh worth $536 million to back efforts to reduce poverty and boost economic reforms.

Frederick Temple, the World Bank’s country director, made the proposals, which “would change the nature of Bangladesh’s political economy and create an environment in which the other changes would have higher payoffs.”

“The political system is being increasingly commercialized by the way the election system works [as] candidates spend huge amounts of money to get elected; and if they win, many use their offices to recoup their investments, with profit,” Mr. Temple told a seminar on poverty organized by the World Bank and Dhaka University. “The election system generates the demand for bribes,” he added.

SRI LANKA

Legal advice sought to end ethnic war

COLOMBO — The government has sought legal expertise from Britain for constitutional reforms to end the island’s drawn-out ethnic conflict, according to a senior minister.

Constitutional Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris said he held talks with Britain’s new secretary of state for constitutional affairs, Lord Falconer of Thoroton, this week in London. Mr. Peiris was joined by Attorney General K.C. Kamalasabesan.

Sri Lanka’s peace talks with Tamil Tiger rebels have been deadlocked since April over guerrilla demands for an interim administrative council with political and financial powers before a final peace deal.

ABKHAZIA

Russian Senate OKs peacekeeping extension

MOSCOW — The Russian Senate approved at midweek an extension of the mandate of a Russian peacekeeping force in Georgia’s troubled separatist region of Abkhazia.

The decision is a post-facto authorization of the role of the 3,000 Russian troops stationed in Georgia’s breakaway western region on behalf of the 12-nation Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) for a six-month period ending Monday.

Weekly notes …

India’s deputy prime minister, Lal Krishna Advani, obliquely criticized the United States Thursday for providing a $3 billion aid package to Pakistan, which New Delhi says sponsors militants in Kashmir. “You have declared yourself the leader of the global coalition against terrorism. Then, why do you give economic aid and arms to those who sponsor and abet terrorism?” Mr. Advani said, without mentioning either country. … Maj. Mohammad Farid Ahamdi will become the first officer from the nascent Afghan national army to attend the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., U.S. Army spokesman Col. Rodney Davis told reporters at Bagram air base in Afghanistan. Maj. Ahmadi, 30, is an instructor at the Kabul Military Training Center where officers, noncommissioned officers and enlisted soldiers are trained.

From wire dispatches and staff reports

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