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Khaleda Zia, Sheikh Hasina's parties must continue talks: United Nations

Thursday, 12 December 2013 - 11:33am IST | Agency: IANS

The UN envoy, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, who arrived here last week to end the deadlock over a caretaker government issue during parliamentary elections left Wednesday, asking the ruling and main opposition parties to continue talks.

The UN assistant secretary general for political affairs managed to bring the bickering politicians -- Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition leader Khaleda Zia -- to negotiating table and advocated to find out home-grown solutions, bdnews24.com reported Thursday.

Stating that a solution over caretaker government during scheduled Jan 5 elections was still possible, but that must come from the two parties -- Hasina-led Awami League (AL) and Zia-led Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), the UN envoy said here Wednesday evening that it was now the "responsibility" of the parties to continue talks.

The envoy, who had extended his scheduled stay by a day, said the UN's first aim was to get the two parties sit for talks.

"I firmly believe there is a ground for an agreement. Bangladeshi leaders must continue to come together...I encouraged both sides to continue their dialogue in the spirit of goodwill, and compromise."

He said Bangladeshis expected the two sides to work together constructively to decrease tensions and to find mutually agreeable solutions for free, fair, inclusive and non-violent elections.

Stating that he was "very happy" with his Dhaka mission outcome, the UN envoy said it still remained "critical to reduce tension and to continue to engage in constructive dialogue" to create a congenial atmosphere.

"There are measures that would contribute immensely -- a call by all sides to end the violence, the release of opposition political leaders, and a mutually satisfactory solution to concerns regarding the elections schedule".

He said in the process of dialogue the parties would find solutions to hold "free, fair, inclusive and credible" elections and that both parties agreed to hold a third round of dialogue.

Top leaders of the Awami League and BNP have already met twice in last few days.

The envoy will now report back to the UN chief Ban Ki-moon who called Prime Minister Hasina earlier Wednesday.

Fernandez-Taranco said his top priority was stopping violence, and stopping unnecessary killing and deaths, reducing tensions and building space for dialogue.

Violence has been widespread with the opposition camp's continuous road, railway and waterway blockades.


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