Published: Friday, May 10, 2013

POLITICAL IMPASSE

UN official in city to hold talks

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández-Taranco arrived in Dhaka on Friday to hold talks with the government, opposition parties and the Election Commission as tension is growing over the next national election.

Fernández-Taranco who arrived in the morning will stay here until May 13 to foster dialogue and conducive conditions for the parliamentary elections slated for the year-end.

He will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at 10:00am at her official residence Gono Bhaban, sources at the PMO said.

Fernández-Taranco will also have talks with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni on Sunday.

The UN official will hold another meeting with BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan office at 6:00pm on Saturday, BNP sources said.

During his mission, Fernández-Taranco will also meet civil society representatives and international community, including the Chief Election Commissioner.

This visit is a follow-up to his mission in December last when he said the UN would continue its institutional and capacity-building support to the Election Commission during the next general election as it did in the 2008 polls.

Worried at the spiraling violence in Bangladesh, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on May 7 urged the political and religious leaders in the country to engage in constructive dialogue and help defuse tensions.

The secretary-general called upon all concerned to stop violence, respect the law and express their views peacefully.

The UN chief also informed that he was sending Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs, Oscar Fernández-Taranco to discuss with political parties and the Election Commission to hold free, fair and credible elections.

Diplomats in Dhaka have been voicing their concern over the deteriorating political situation and calling for dialogue to resolve problems.

On Monday, US Ambassador to Bangladesh Dan Mozena reiterated his call for the political leaders to reach out to each other to engage in dialogue to resolve the ongoing crisis.

On May 8, representatives of the European Union (EU) missions in Dhaka hoped that Bangladesh’s parties will soon reach a consensus about the form of government to be in place during electoral period.

They urged major parties to engage in constructive discussions, at the earliest opportunity, so that the countrymen can find a way forward towards free, fair and credible elections.

At the joint press conference in the city, EU Head of Delegation to Bangladesh Ambassador William Hanna said, “We believe a politically acceptable and constitutionally viable mechanism can be agreed (on).”