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Dhaka Tribune

US, UK want to assist government in Savar rescue,

Update : 29 Apr 2013, 04:56 AM

The United States and Britain has expressed their desire to assist Bangladesh in the ongoing rescue operation in Savar but the government is reluctant to accept the help.

At a press brief on Thursday, acting deputy spokesperson of US State Department Patrick Ventrell said Washington stood ready to assist.

On the same day, Bangladesh Home Minister Mohiuddin Khan Alamgir at a media briefing in his office said London wanted to help the government in the rescue operation. But the offer was turned down because there was no need for it, the home minister said.

The building collapse in Savar on Wednesday has so far claimed nearly 400 lives, injured about 2,500, with hundreds still missing.

Kelly McCarthy, press and information officer of the US Embassy in Dhaka, however told the Dhaka Tribune that the Bangladesh government has not yet asked the USA for assistance.

When asked what kind of assistance Washington wanted to extend, Kelly McCarthy said: “It would depend on what we, the United States, would be asked to provide. We would take requests into consideration, evaluate them, and respond as appropriate.”

An official from the Bangladesh foreign ministry said the British High Commission in Dhaka had contacted the ministry on Thursday and expressed UK’s desire to assist.

“We told them that the home ministry is coordinating the operation. We asked them to contact the home ministry,” he said.

He also said Britain had not yet placed any formal proposal to the foreign ministry.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that American journalists were curious to know whether any North American company had orders in the ill-fated factories. They threw relevant questions to Patrick Ventrell during another routine brief on Friday.

The readymade garment factories in the eight-storey building in Savar served global brands like Britain’s Primark, Spain’s Mango and Italy’s Benetton.

On both Thursday and Friday, a journalist by the name of Brad wanted to know whether any American company sourced from these factories. Another reporter also asked similar questions during Thursday’s brief.

Ventrell on Thursday said: “Yeah. I did check again this morning, Brad, and we still don’t have information one way or another on any American company. I know that it’s a fairly chaotic scene as they go through and continue to work through this very grim scene.”

Following the Savar tragedy, many consumers and groups in the west have strongly criticised the global brands for failing to maintain compliance standards throughout their supply chains.

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