US renews call for dialogue
Kerry writes to Hasina, KhaledaStaff Correspondent
The U.S. secretary of state John Kerry, in a renewed diplomatic initiative, has written to prime minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia reiterating Washington’s call to settle the dispute over election-time administration through constructive dialogue for fair parliamentary polls.
‘Secretary Kerry has written to the Prime Minister and to Begum Zia. He has encouraged them to engage in constructive dialogue to find a way forward towards free, fair and credible elections,’ Kelly S. McCarthy, press and information officer at the U.S. embassy, told New Age.
Kerry wrote the letters on the heels of UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s telephone calls to Hasina and Khaleda on August 23 requesting the two leaders to sit for dialogue to settle the long running dispute.
Regarding Kerry’s letter, the prime minister’s office did not issue any statement. A foreign ministry official, however, told New Age that U.S. ambassador Dan Mozena handed over Kerry’s letter to the foreign ministry on Sunday.
Awami League joint general secretary Mahbubul Alam Hanif said, ‘We do not know what is mentioned in his [Kerry] letter. We can only give our reaction after we have received the letter,’ the AL spokesman added.
It is expected that foreign minister Dipu Moni might come up with the government position concerning Kerry’s letter on September 12 when she will hold a scheduled press briefing.
However, Awami League leader Suranjit Sengupta said they were ready to talk with the opposition at any place at any time.
BNP vice-chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury told New Age that Kerry sent a letter to leader of the opposition Khaleda Zia on Sunday and expressed concern over the political
crisis in Bangladesh centering the next general elections.
Shamsher said Kerry hoped that political parties would respond to the initiative of the United Nations to resolve the crisis in the country for holding a fair election participated by all political parties.
Besides, the U.S. secretary of state hoped constructive discussion could take place among the ruling and opposition parties and added that time for dialogue was running out.
BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir on Monday said they would respond to Kerry’s call for dialogue to resolve Bangladesh’s present political crisis.
Talking to reporters, Fakhrul said the U.S. secretary of state has expressed concern through the letter over the current political crisis and stressed on holding dialogue among the political parties to overcome the crisis.
He said BNP wants dialogue and consensus saying they were ready to discuss if the government initiates dialogue on election-time non-party neutral government.
Fakhrul said world leaders are also worried about the future of democracy in Bangladesh because the next general election has become uncertain following the government’s stubbornness.
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