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'Bangladeshi soil will not be used for a terrorist act'

December 31, 2008
Awami League chief Sheikh Hasina, who favours strong ties with India, today vowed not to allow Bangladesh's territory to be used for terrorism against its neighbours, two days after her grand alliance swept the country's first general election in seven years.

The 61-year-old charismatic leader said that "continued good relations with neighbours", particularly with India, would be a major agenda of her government.

"The Bangladeshi soil will never be used to carry out any terrorist act against our neighbours," Hasina, whose grand alliance bagged 262 seats in the 300-member parliament, said in her first post-victory press conference.

Her remarks came in response to a question about New Delhi's assertions in the past that the Bangladeshi territory was being used for carrying out terrorist attacks on India.

"When we were in power we took a strong position on this (terrorism) and we will do that in the future. I have always maintained that we want peaceful relations with our neighbours," Hasina said.

Proposing the formation of a South Asian task force to fight terrorism in the region, Hasina said, "I want continued improved relations with the neighbours."

Image: Bangladesh Awami League president Sheikh Hasina talks in front of a portrait of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, the founder of the party, during a press conference in Dhaka on Wednesday.

Photograph: REUTERS/Andrew Biraj

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