Oct 202014
 

http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/08/07MANILA2587.html#
Reference ID Created Released Classification Origin
07MANILA2587
2007-08-01 09:24
2011-08-30 01:44
CONFIDENTIAL
Embassy Manila

VZCZCXRO7794
OO RUEHCHI RUEHDT RUEHHM
DE RUEHML #2587/01 2130924
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 010924Z AUG 07
FM AMEMBASSY MANILA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 7667
INFO RUEHZS/ASSOCIATION OF SOUTHEAST ASIAN NATIONS IMMEDIATE
RUEHBJ/AMEMBASSY BEIJING IMMEDIATE 6149
RUEHBS/AMEMBASSY BRUSSELS IMMEDIATE 0515
RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI IMMEDIATE 2336
RUEHUL/AMEMBASSY SEOUL IMMEDIATE 2615
RUEHKO/AMEMBASSY TOKYO IMMEDIATE 3302
RUEHIN/AIT TAIPEI IMMEDIATE 1525
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 MANILA 002587

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR D, SCA, AND EAP

E.O. 12958: DECL: 08/08/2027
TAGS: ASEAN ETRD PREL EXBS BG RP
SUBJECT: THE DEPUTY SECRETARY’S MEETING WITH BANGLADESH FOREIGN AFFAIRS ADVISER CHOWDHURY

Classified By: Deputy Secretary Negroponte, reasons 1.4 c, d

¶1. (C) Summary: Deputy Secretary Negroponte conveyed U.S.
interest in a transition to democratic elections in
Bangladesh, in a July 31 meeting with Bangladesh’s Adviser
for Foreign Affairs Dr. Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury on the
margins of the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF). Chowdhury assured
the Deputy Secretary that Bangladesh’s interim government
intended to hold national elections in December 2008.
Chowdhury also described four basic reform objectives of the
interim government: electoral reform, civil service reform,
anticorruption, and good governance. Chowdhury stated that
Bangladesh would accede to the ASEAN Treaty of Amity and
Cooperation and would express support for the Philippines’
bid for observer status in the Organization of Islamic
Conference. End Summary.

————————–
National Elections in 2008
————————–

¶2. (C) The Deputy Secretary emphasized to Chowdhury U.S.
interest in a transition back to democratic elections in
Bangladesh. Chowdhury noted that these are “interesting
times” in Bangladesh and assured the Deputy Secretary that
the interim government intended to hold national elections in
December 2008.

¶3. (C) Chowdhury described the interim government as
composed of apolitical constitutional technocrats, each with
a set of discrete duties to discharge. According to
Chowdhury, the interim government is not ideological and has
no political “afterlife” as a group, though individual
members of the government may continue on in politics after
the December 2008 elections.

¶4. (C) The interim government has strong popular support,
said Chowdhury, though it does not seek to “advertise
itself.” He maintained that the interim government is
answerable to the media and to the “court of public opinion,”
and said that the goal of the government is to “come in, do
what it was supposed to do, and leave.”

¶5. (C) Chowdhury stated that the interim government seeks to
redress a Bangladeshi political institution that had “gone
wrong.” In his opinion, Bangladeshi politics suffered from a
“winner takes all” mentality in which the political losers
would “lose completely” and the opposition had a propensity
to “go to the streets.” This system also forced political
winners to perpetuate themselves in office and fostered, in
the executive, a sense of impunity. Chowdhury described his
hope that “secular liberal parties” would emerge in
Bangladesh and that a system of “power sharing with the
opposition” would arise. He said that the “cost of political
defeat” must be reduced and that the “winner take all” system
must be undone.

————————–
The Four Baskets of Reform
————————–

¶6. (C) Chowdhury described the interim government’s four
baskets of reform: electoral reform, civil service reform,
anticorruption, and good governance. Chowdhury stated that
the interim government has until the December 2008 elections
to institute these reforms.

¶7. (C) Chowdhury said the Election Commission has developed
a roadmap for national elections with a target date of
December 2008, adding that local elections may occur before
then. Referring to civil service reform, Chowdhury regretted
the growing politicization of the civil service over the last
20 years and said the interim government seeks to return to
an apolitical civil service. Chowdhury also discussed his
government’s fight against corruption, an effort that he said
is spearheaded by the Anticorruption Commission. Turning to
good governance, Chowdhury emphasized that “no agent of the
government can be above the law.” The interim government is
focused on the procedures by which the government disburses
funds, and expects that reforms will delink members of
parliament from this process. He also said that the
government had made strides in the sphere of human rights.

MANILA 00002587 002 OF 002

¶8. (C) Chowdhury stated that the he recently sent the Deputy
Secretary a letter addressing U.S. interest in the cases of

SIPDIS
Bangladeshi political detainees charged with corruption. He
said that the interim government’s action in these cases is
“rooted in the idea that nobody is above the law.”

¶9. (C) Chowdhury emphasized positive developments in
Bangladesh, noting its “tranquility” and the prevailing
“peaceful and stable” atmosphere. He pointed to various
Bangladeshi strengths, including its “fiercely” independent
media, progressive educational institutions, women’s
empowerment, and the marginalizing of extremists. Chowdhury
also noted that Bangladesh is a responsible international
actor, adding in particular that Bangladesh is the “number
one peacekeeper in the world.”

———-
ARF Agenda
———-

¶10. (C) Turning to this year’s ASEAN Regional Forum,
Chowdhury said Bangladesh would accede to the ASEAN Treaty of
Amity and Cooperation. He also stated that he would announce
Bangladesh support for the Philippine’s candidacy for
observer status in the Organization of Islamic Conference,
noting the “good job” the Philippines has done in
implementing the 1996 Peace Agreement between the Philippine
government the Moro National Liberation Front.

¶11. (U) July 31, 2007; 1645-1715; Manila, Philippines.

¶12. (U) Meeting participants:

U.S.
Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte
Kaye Lee, Special Assistant to the Deputy Secretary of State
Adam Scarlatelli, Notetaker

Bangladesh
Foreign Minister Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury
Muhammad Abul Quaashem, Ambassador to the Philippines
Mosud Mannan, Director General (International Organizations)
Mahfuzur Rahman, Director (International Organizations)
Asad Alam Siam, Director (Foreign Advisor’s Office)
Md. Jafar Uddin, Counsellor
KENNEY

   

 

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.