- The Washington Times - Sunday, April 16, 2006

Useless treaty?

A top adviser to Bangladesh’s foreign minister fears the United States might have undermined the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty with its agreement to provide India with assistance for its nuclear power program.

Reaz Rahman told editors and reporters at The Washington Times that his country, which has signed the treaty designed to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, is wondering why the Bush administration rewarded India, which has not signed the treaty and has developed nuclear weapons. Mr. Rahman also is worried about another potential conflict between India and regional rival Pakistan, which also has nuclear weapons.

“You have opened the door for people to say, ‘Is the non-proliferation program valid any longer?’ Our concern is that we are willy-nilly part of this whole process because, if it ever escalates, we will be decimated,” he said.

Mr. Rahman, on a visit to Washington last week, also pressed U.S. officials to reduce tariffs on Bangladeshi garments.

“This is a major battle for us,” he said. “Aid is dwindling. The U.S. is our largest trading partner, so access to the U.S. market is critical for us.”

Although Mr. Rahman played down the presence of terrorists in Bangladesh and said two top local terrorist leaders had been arrested, Bangladeshi Ambassador Shamsher M. Chowdhury warned that any rise in poverty could widen the terrorist recruiting pool.

“In a scenario of layoffs and factory closings, these unemployed would be easy pickings for terrorists,” he said.

He also noted that 2 million women work in the garment sector in Bangladesh, supporting about 12 million people.

Diplomatic traffic

Foreign visitors in Washington this week include:

Today

• Britain’s Dr. David Nabarro, coordinator for avian influenza at the United Nations, and Muhammad Yunus, founder and managing director of Bangladesh’s Grameen Bank. They participate in panel discussions at the third annual World Health Care Congress at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.

• Christopher A. Bayly, professor of imperial and naval history at Britain’s Cambridge University, and David Washbrook, professor at St. Anthony’s College at Oxford University. They discuss British-Indian relations in the 19th century at Johns Hopkins University’s Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies.

• Omar Sultan, Afghanistan’s deputy minister of culture, who attends an Afghan Embassy reception to celebrate the nation’s cultural and archaeological heritage.

Tomorrow

• Andrei Illarionov, former economic adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin, who addresses the Cato Institute.

Wednesday

• Prime Minister Pedro-Pablo Kuczynski of Peru, who addresses the Inter-American Dialogue on the U.S.-Peru free trade agreement.

• Montek Singh Ahluwalia, deputy chairman of India’s Planning Commission, who addresses the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research on U.S.-Indian economic relations. On Friday, he speaks at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on Indian economic reforms.

Thursday

• Chinese President Hu Jintao, who meets President Bush. Mr. Hu’s delegation includes Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao, State Counselor Tang Jiaxuan, Commerce Minister Bo Xilai and Ma Kai, minister in charge of the National Commission for Development and Reform.

• Visaka Dharmadasa, founder of Sri Lanka’s Association of War-Affected Women and of Parents of Servicemen Missing in Action. She addresses the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars about her efforts to negotiate peace in her country.

Friday

• Judge Luzius Wildhaber, president of the European Court of Human Rights, who speaks at American University.

Call Embassy Row at 202/636-3297, fax 202/832-7278 or e-mail jmorrison@washingtontimes.com.

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