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Saturday, December 25, 2010

WIKILEAKS LEAKS, Govt mum as US, UK missions make guarded remarks

Courtesy: New Age Dhaka, 25 Dec 2010

WIKILEAKS LEAKS Govt mum as US, UK missions make guarded remarks

Diplomatic Correspondent

The US embassy and the British high commission in Dhaka made guarded statements when New Age called their attention to WikiLeaks disclosures, as printed in the Guardian newspaper of London, about influence on Islamic education and open-pit coal mining and training of the Rapid Action Battalion in Bangladesh.

The government, however, has kept silent about Wikileaks disclosures on the issues.

The US embassy information officer, Patricia Hill, said they generally do not make statements on ‘leaked’ documents.

In an official statement e-mailed to New Age on Friday, she, however, said, ‘In recent days some media have reported on what are claimed to be classified State Department cables that detail private diplomatic discussions concerning events [i]n Bangladesh. [B]y its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information. It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions.

Nevertheless, these cables could compromise private discussions with individuals across a range of sectors. President Obama supports responsible, accountable and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal.’

A spokesman of the British high commission in Dhaka said the high commission generally do not make statement on ‘leaked’ documents.

The high commission official, however, said on Friday that the British government had been providing training for RAB men since 2008 in basic knowledge of law, fundamental human rights and conducting investigations in line with British law and values.

The training has been provided in good faith that RAB will uphold human rights while discharging its responsibilities, the official said.

When their attention was called to Wikileaks disclosures on US and British steps for influencing Islamic education, open-pit coal mining and Rapid Action Battalion training, the foreign minister, Dipu Moni, the education minister, Nurul Islam Nahid, and the prime minister’s energy adviser Tawfiq-e-Elahi Chowdhury avoided questions of New Age.

They avoided receiving calls and questions texted to them on Thursday and Friday.

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