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McCain Urges Free, Fair Bangladeshi Elections

Former U.S. presidential candidate John McCain has called on Bangladesh's political parties to accept the outcome of the upcoming parliamentary elections that will end nearly two years of emergency rule.

The Arizona senator praised the military-backed interim government during a visit to Bangladesh's capital, Dhaka, Wednesday. He said the United States appreciates the job the caretaker government has done to strengthen the foundation of Bangladesh's democracy.

But McCain said the government's job is not yet complete. He said it is now time for an elected successor to continue the reform process and build democracy for Bangladesh's people.

McCain said it will be equally important for everyone to accept the results of the December 29 elections and work together in the interest of the country.

The elections are intended to restore democracy to Bangladesh nearly two years after the army imposed emergency rule to end political violence.

The main political parties are demanding the state of emergency be lifted before the election. Authorities have said it might be lifted after the nominating process.

McCain, who has an adopted daughter from Bangladesh, also urged the country to play a role in defeating terrorism in the region, following last week's attacks in the Indian city of Mumbai.
McCain is traveling in the region with fellow U.S. senators and members of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham. They arrived in Bangladesh from India on Tuesday.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.