Bangladesh Foreign Secretary: Robert Blake's statement will not affect Bangladesh-US relations; IMF attaches new conditions to Bangladesh; ADB to review some of its projects in Bangladesh; India uses Bangladesh roads for transshipment for the first time;
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  • Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Mijarul Quayes has reportedly said that US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake's remarks during his recent visit to Dhaka that the issue of Prof Muhammad Yunus will affect bilateral relations, will not affect US-Bangladesh ties. He pointed out that ties between the two nations are based on partnership and marked by common values, global position on international issues and institutional links.1

    Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has attached a new condition of demutualisation of stock exchanges to its $1 billion credit offer for Bangladesh.2

    Reports noted that Asian Development Bank will review some of its key infrastructure and development projects in Bangladesh amid concerns that government agencies have failed to spend billions of dollars it lent for the schemes.3 Meanwhile, four consignments of power plant equipment bound for Tripura left Ashuganj river port on March 28. This is the first instance of India using Bangladesh roads for transshipment.4

    According to reports, trade between Tripura and Bangladesh almost doubled to Rs 300 crore in the current fiscal year from Rs 163 crore in the previous fiscal year, while export of eight Bangladeshi items registered a fivefold rise this year.5 With the increase in trade between Tripura and Bangladesh, the Indian government is considering a Tripura’s proposal for opening border markets and introducing flights on Agartala-Dhaka-Chittagong routes.6

    In another development, a four-member Bangladesh delegation left for Japan on March 29 to offer aid and sympathy to the country devastated by earthquake and tsunami.7 However, UN envoy in Liberia, Ellen Margrethe Loj, has honoured 1,432 Bangladeshi peacekeepers for their dedicated service to peace in Liberia.8 Bahrain's Foreign Minister Shaikh Khaled Bin Ahmed Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa called on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on March 31 at PM’s office. During the meeting, they discussed the issues of human resources export and employment of Bangladeshis in Bahrain. Bilateral issues including trade and commerce between the two countries were also discussed.9

    In other developments, the UK government has announced that it will double its aid to Bangladesh over the next four years, following a major review of Britain's global aid programmes.10