Rumsfeld in B’desh to seek troops for Iraq

Agence France Presse

Dhaka, June 5:

US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld arrived here today for a short visit during which he is expected to raise the possibility of troops from the Muslim-majority nation being sent to Iraq. Rumsfeld, who arrived from Singapore, is due to make a one-night stop in Bangladesh, one of the world’s largest participants in United Nations peacekeeping missions.

He was greeted at Dhaka’s airport by Foreign Minister Morshed Khan and US ambassador Harry Thomas. Rumsfeld was expected to meet the press after talks with Khan and Prime Minister Khaleda Zia. A senior Bangladeshi official said this week that “asking Bangladesh for troops to be stationed in Iraq after an Iraqi administration is in place” is expected to be discussed during the visit. In Singapore Rumsfeld had said the United States was engaged in a “test of wills” in Iraq and warned the alternative was civil war, a territorial breakup or the emergence of a “junior version” of Saddam Hussein. Bangladesh opposed the US-led invasion of Iraq and has repeatedly said it would only send troops to Iraq under UN auspices.