Germany waits for positive signal from Bangladesh

Diplomatic Correspondent

Members of the visiting German parliamentary committee on economic cooperation and development attend a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday. — New Age photo

Members of the visiting German parliamentary committee on economic cooperation and development attend a press conference in Dhaka on Tuesday. — New Age photo

German parliamentary delegation leader Ms Dagmar G. Woehrl on Tuesday expressed concern of the German parliament over the election of the parliament by a small number of the electorates on January 5 and stressed on early dialogue between the current government and former opposition BNP.
Although Ms Dagmar appreciated the return of stability to the country but expressed some doubts whether it can be maintained for five years unless substantial dialogue between the major political forces starts, rather sooner than later.
Speaking at a pre-departure press conference at the German House in the afternoon, Ms Dagmar who met with the prime minister and the speaker said they would hope to soon receive a ‘positive signal’ from Bangladesh in this respect.
In reply to a question, she said during the meeting with prime minister Sheikh Hasina on Tuesday morning they raised  their concern about democratic process in Bangladesh and she understood their concern.
Ms Dagmar suggested resumption of dialogue sooner than later and said in a democracy a strong opposition is important to move Bangladesh forward.
She told a correspondent that the caretaker government system was abandoned through the amendment of the constitution but said it is the people of Bangladesh to decide when and how they want to see the next new elections.
Asked about future German aid for Bangladesh, Ms Dagmar, chairperson of the committee on economic cooperation and development, said on their return they would discuss with the German parliament about the future partnership with Bangladesh and how to expand the relation.
Germany so far provided aid of 2.5 billion euro for Bangladesh with 100 million euro every year.
She said Germany remains committed to continue its support to Bangladesh to leave behind poverty and to consolidate democracy.
‘We support the people and we do this irrespective of ups and downs of politics. As long as core values are respected which our foreign policy is based on,’ Ms Dagmar said.
About the post-Rana Plaza disaster, she said this creates a joint obligation for buyers, traders and producers, government, trade unions and civil society to make sure that production and working condition are up to the international standards.
Ms Dagmar, who visited the site of Rana Plaza building site, a garment factory and the Center for the Rehabilitation of the Paralyzed in Savar, said some progress has been made with the support of Accord, ILO and Alliance.
‘But it is only the beginning of a long road, which Germany is ready to go with Bangladesh,’ she added.
Germany is a prime destination of ready made garments from Bangladesh. Seventeen per cent of total RMG export goes to Germany. In 2013 Bangladesh’s export to Germany stood at 3.5 billion euro while import was worth 452 million euros.

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