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UN stands for fair, credible, inclusive polls: Taranco

Staff Correspondent

The UN assistant secretary general for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco addresses a press conference at the Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday. — Sanaul HaqueThe UN assistant secretary general for political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco addresses a press conference at the Sonargaon Hotel in Dhaka on Wednesday. — Sanaul Haque

The United Nations stands for a free, fair, inclusive and non-violent election which the people in Bangladesh want and deserve and the credibility of the election will ultimately rest with the people, the UN assistant secretary general, Oscar Fernández-Taranco, said on Wednesday.
Fernández-Taranco specified three measures that could contribute immensely to breaking the impasse and create a congenial atmosphere — a call by all sides to end violence, the release of opposition political leaders, and a mutually satisfactory solution to concerns regarding the elections schedule.
Fernández-Taranco said that the situation was still critical in reducing tension and political leaders should continue to engage in a constructive dialogue to create a congenial atmosphere for credible elections. He said that Bangladeshis had experiences of credible elections.
Wrapping up his five-day tour of Dhaka, Fernández-Taranco at a crowded news conference at the Sonargaon Hotel said that the prime goal of his tour was to bring the two parties across the table and it had been accomplished. ‘We have started it. It is the beginning. A solution is still possible but that must come from the two parties.’
‘I firmly believe there is ground for an agreement. Bangladeshi leaders must continue to come together. I encouraged both sides to continue their dialogue in the spirit of good will and compromise. Bangladeshis expect them to work together constructively to decrease tensions and to find mutually agreeable solutions for free, fair, inclusive and non-violent elections,’ he said.
He said that he firmly believed that there was ground for an agreement among political leaders and he encouraged both the sides to continue with their dialogue in the spirit of goodwill and compromise.
He also observed that the level of goodwill among the leaders was ‘so far so good’ and he was ‘very happy’ about his Dhaka mission outcomes as two parties had engaged in a dialogue and both the parties agreed to hold a third round of dialogue. Top leaders of the Awami League and the Bangladesh Nationalist Party already met twice in the past past couple of days.
Fernández-Taranco declined to go into ‘specifics’ about the outcome of the dialogue and whether the elections scheduled for January 5 that the BNP said would boycott would be deferred. The parties have raised many issues and all the relevant issues are related to the current situation in a substantive and constructive manner, he said.
Asked about the consequences if the dialogue fails, Fernández-Taranco said, ‘Everybody in this room knows what will happen if the dialogue fails. I would not answer that question. This is a leadership issue. This is a decision that takes courage.’
He said that the current political crisis was exacting a heavy, human, social and economic toll on Bangladesh and it resulted in increasing tension and seriously threatened the hard-earned economic and social progress that Bangladesh has achieved.
In reply to a question on possibilities of elections under the UN management, Fernández-Taranco said that such things required mandate from the UN General Assembly or the Security Council and Bangladesh was not a case like that.
He did not find anything wrong with the cancellation of his appointment with the prime minister on the day. ‘Today it was a very, very hectic day. As you know many things are happening. It is a matter of scheduling.’
Amid escalating political tension, Fernández-Taranco arrived in Dhaka on Friday evening on an assignment from the UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon and would leave for New York around 9:00pm Wednesday to report back to him on the outcome of the visit. 




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