Dhaka, June 23 (IANS) Germany Saturday expressed concern over killings and the human rights violations in Bangladesh, and urged all political actors to work together to strengthen democracy and rule of law in the South Asian country.
"We are concerned about the recent killings of activists, and expect investigation into the incidents and that the perpetrators will be brought to justice," visiting German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle was quoted as saying by the Daily Star.
Westerwelle arrived here Saturday on a two-day visit.
At a joint press conference after a meeting with Bangladeshi Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, the German minister stressed on the need for holding a free and fair election, active role of the civil society, freedom of expression and free press to strengthen democracy in Bangladesh.
"Free and fair elections, freedom of expression are essential elements of democracy. So we urge all political actors to work together for strengthening democracy, human rights and rule of law," Westerwelle said.
He said he was highly impressed by the civil society in Bangladesh.
The German foreign minister said his country has so far provided two billion euros ($2.5 billion) as development assistance to Bangladesh.
Germany is also the biggest trading partner of Bangladesh in Europe. Bangladesh's exports to Germany stand at three billion euros a year, he said.
Germany has also provided Bangladesh with 60 million euros as soft loan for power projects.
Westerwelle is expected to call on Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, meet representatives of the civil society and attend a meeting of the Bangladesh-Germany Chamber of Commerce and Industry.
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