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USA backs no political force in BD: Mozena

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Staff reporter Outgoing US Ambassador Dan W Mozena on Saturday said his country backs no political force in Bangladesh’s political race as it focuses on deepening partnership between the two countries. “I don’t know what to say about that. America backs no force in the political race. That’s for you, the people of Bangladesh to sort out,” he said. The US diplomat made the remark at a pre-departure press conference at the American Club in the capital yesterday when a questioner wanted to know his comment on the public perception that USA wanted to bring BNP and its alliance to power. Asked about the most significant achievement during his three-year tenure, Mozena said it would definitely be ‘institutionalizing’ the partnership if someone looks at it from the US’ perspective. “Because, it’s now bigger than any individual person…it has its own structure. We’ve four forums working to keep on pushing this partnership. That’s a huge accomplishment,” he said. Asked whether it is true he is not going to have a farewell meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Mozena said, "I’ve no idea". “I’ve not finished my appointments yet. I’m still doing appointments today and continuing tomorrow,” he responded to another question. Talking about immediate challenges ahead of Bangladesh, Mozena said the most immediately is the challenge of manifesting the commitment and will to transform apparel industry. “That’s a big challenge because it’s a big deal but if that commitment and will are there, I believe, it’ll be the largest apparel export industry.” Apparently parrying the question on political relations between the two countries, the US diplomat said his eyes were always on the prize which is ‘partnership’ between the two countries. “The prize is our partnership. Our partnership is today broader, deeper and stronger than ever,” he said adding that they are promoting Bangladesh that is peaceful, secure, prosperous, healthy and democratic. Responding to a question on January-5 elections, he said the positions remained unchanged and advised the reporters to visit Google to check the January-6 statements and February-11 testimony in the US Senate Committee given by the US Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal. Mozena who was looking very gloomy said he has no complaint and left the issues being discussed in the public domain to them as he had a mission of building a partnership. “Even I didn’t imagine that this partnership would be what it is today. Partnership is advancing on all fronts.” Expressing satisfaction over his stay in Bangladesh, he said, “I’m so satisfied with the quality and strength of the partnership. There’s no person in this room or anyone in Washington and I include myself, whoever thought the partnership would be as rich as it is right now.” The US envoy listed the lack of infrastructure, the rule of law and possible political instability as challenges but mentioned that all these are resolvable. Mozena described Bangladesh’s potentials referring to four legs of tigers -- RMG sector’s transformation, environment-friendly leather industry in Savar, generic pharmaceutical products and information technology -- which can bring about significant changes in the country’s economic growth. Laying emphasis on education, the US envoy said Bangladesh needs education revolution with quality teachers with better salaries and adequate training facilities. “The children and young people deserve the best and highest quality education.” Depicting a beautiful Bangladesh, Mozena said he does not know any poor Bangladesh. “I only know rich Bangladesh. This is a land of magic.” He reiterated his desire to stay engaged with Bangladesh and continue telling stories about Bangladesh among the Americans. Asked how he wants to stay engaged with Bangladesh, Mozena said, “Many opportunities are opening up. They’re very attractive and exciting to me but they don’t relate to Bangladesh. I haven’t taken those, I put them aside.” He said he really wants to do something that is fun and rewarding and specially linked to Bangladesh. Mozena leaves Dhaka tomorrow (Sunday) as he goes on retirement. New Ambassador Marcia Stephens Bloom Bernicat will soon arrive here to take over.