Bangladesh ministers say Teesta pact will be done

Bangladesh ministers say Teesta pact will be done

After it became clear that India would not be signing the Teesta river water sharing agreement, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni and Secretary Mohamed Mijarul Quayes were in constant touch with their Indian counterparts S.M. Krishna and Ranjan Mathai to salvage the deal, diplomatic sources told New Age.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina held an emergency meeting Monday evening, a day before her Indian counterpart was to arrive here. The Bangladeshi prime minister’s cabinet colleagues and advisers spoke to their contacts in New Delhi to persuade Indian authorities to sign the Teesta agreement, the paper said.

Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, who was present at that meeting, said an agreement on Teesta “will be signed during this visit”. Agriculture Minister Matia Chowdhury and Commerce Minister Faruk Khan too said the same.

“The Teesta agreement will be signed during the visit,” New Age quoted Matia as saying. An unnamed minister added that there “are still chances for negotiations on the table”.

A top Indian official had told reporters Tuesday: "We are unlikely to sign (the Teesta water sharing agreement)," the official said. But he added that efforts were still on find out if the differences between the two sides on the issues could be overcome.

Mathai had said in New Delhi Monday: "…nothing is done or will be done without the consent of the (West Bengal) state government. Any agreement will have to be acceptable to both the state government and the government of Bangladesh."

West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee protested the final draft of the Teesta agreement. She also backed out from accompanying the Indian prime minister to Dhaka for the Sep 6-7 trip.