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Dhaka Tribune

US backs UN and Chinese move

Update : 24 Aug 2013, 07:08 PM

Against the backdrop of the United Nations secretary-general’s move to end the ongoing political impasse in Bangladesh, US Ambassador Dan Mozena on Saturday renewed his call for both sides to engage in constructive dialogue and to hold the next general elections in a free, fair and credible manner.

“The major parties need to have constructive dialogue to find a way forward, because there is a way forward,” Mozena said, while talking to reporters following the inaugural session of an international conference titled “United Nations Peacekeeping and South Asia” at Dhaka University.

Referring to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon telephoning the country’s two top leaders in an effort to resolve the political stand-off, Mozena said the initiative was a very encouraging thing.

“That was a very constructive and helpful thing that the secretary general did on Saturday - I am very encouraged by that,” he said.

Emphasising the need for dialogue to end the crisis, Mozena said: “Bangladeshi people want to have elections that are free, fair and credible. So, I think leaders of all the parties need to find a way (so) that such elections are possible.”

The UN secretary general on Friday personally called Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and main opposition leader Khaleda Zia to discuss the election process and the ongoing political crisis. He also urged the two leaders to hold talks to resolve the crisis.

On a similar initiative taken by the Chinese ambassador in Dhaka, Mozena said Washington and Beijing were on the same page as far as a dialogue between the two parties was concerned.

“He expressed views identical to my own. And there is a need for the leaders of major political parties to have their lieutenants begin a constructive dialogue to find a way forward,” he said. “So, I agree fully with the sentiments of the Chinese ambassador.”

Chinese Ambassador Li Jun on Wednesday said he had taken the initiative to hold face-to-face dialogue between ruling Awami League and opposition BNP leaders.

Li Jun said he would continue to make efforts to encourage negotiations between the two sides, saying he had friends in both the parties and was in touch with them.

Mozena, meanwhile, praised Bangladesh for its contribution to UN peacekeeping missions, saying the world community was grateful to the country.

He noted that the United States would provide $5m to the Bangladesh Institute of Peace Support Operation Training (BIPSOT) to enhance its capacity to better contribute to peacekeeping operations.

Earlier, in May, Ban dispatched his deputy on political affairs, Oscar Fernandez-Taranco, to create a ground for dialogue between the two parties for a smooth transfer of power through credible elections.  

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