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McCain hails Bangladesh elections

John McCain
John McCain said a prosperous Bangladesh was important

Defeated US presidential candidate John McCain has said elections in Bangladesh later this month could possibly be "the fairest" in the world.

Mr McCain paid a brief visit to Dhaka after arriving from Delhi and plans to go to Pakistan later this week.

It is his first foreign trip since he lost to Barack Obama last month.

Mr McCain said that he hoped soon to return to Bangladesh with his wife and teenage adopted daughter, Bridget, who was born in the country.

'Optimistic'

"It seems to me that with the incredible registering of 80 million people, this has the possibility of being the fairest election, perhaps in the entire world," Mr McCain said shortly before leaving the country with fellow senators Joseph Lieberman and Lindsey Graham.

Mr McCain praised the work of the country's military-backed caretaker government in preparing the groundwork for the vote.

"We show our appreciation to the caretaker government and the army for the job they have done and the peaceful transition of power that will return to the elected government.

"So I am optimistic about the result of the election."

Mr McCain said that a democratic and prosperous Bangladesh was important for the region and the world.

He said he hoped the political parties would accept results of the polls and that both ruling and the opposition parties would closely work after the elections.

"It is important for everybody to respect the outcome of the election and come together as citizens of this great country after the election is over," he said.

Mr McCain met caretaker government leader Fakhruddin Ahmed on Wednesday to discuss a number of issues including "Bangladesh's transition to democracy".

He also met the foreign adviser, military leaders and other officials of the government to discuss terrorism and Bangladesh's return to democracy.

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