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Hasina aide rejects WikiLeaks story

Posted by on March 19, 2011 0 Comment

Dhaka, March 19 (IANS) A top aide of Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has denied any role in hastening her return home from the India visit in January last year, as disclosed in an official American cable leaked by WikiLeaks.

The prime minister’s adviser Gowher Rizvi said he had not met the US envoy to Dhaka, James F. Moriarty, the source of the cable that has been leaked to Indian newspaper The Hindu, subsequently published in many Bangladesh newspapers.

A US-trained academic, Rizvi said he did not find “anything authentic” in the diplomatic cable reportedly leaked by WikiLeaks on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s visit to India in January last year.

“I can say categorically that I did not meet the US ambassador on January 10,” Rizvi told United News of Bangladesh (UNB) news agency over phone, the Daily Star said Saturday.

According to WikiLeaks, Rizvi confided to the US envoy on January 10 that he “sabotaged” Hasina’s planned stopover in Kolkata on her way back home from what the envoy described as a “transformational” 2010 visit to India.

Rizvi was supposed to have told the envoy that he believed any delay in returning to Dhaka would give Hasina opponents time to “put their spin” on the visit before she had a chance to tell the nation about it.

The visit was termed “transformational” in that several pacts of far-reaching importance were signed.

In response, Rizvi said schedules of the prime minister’s visit are made by the foreign ministry. “I had absolutely no role in planning her schedules.”

Asked whether he met the US ambassador before or after the premier’s visit, the prime minister’s adviser said: “I’ve close personal and social relations with him. I’ve met him on and off ever since he first arrived in Bangladesh and I continue to meet him whenever necessary for both social and work related matters.”

“I am at a loss and hoping investigative journalists would find out whether it (WikiLeaks’ information) is genuine or wrong,” he said.

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