Pranab refuses to comment on Zia snub
On Board Air India One: President Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday declined to comment on the apparent snub by Bangladesh opposition leader Khaleda Zia, who called off her scheduled meeting with him during his three-day state visit to Bangladesh.
"The FS (Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai has already spoken on it. I have nothing more to add," he told reporters in reply to a query on what he though about Zia calling off the meeting.
Zia, chairperson of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and former prime minister, had called off the meeting scheduled on Monday citing security concerns due to a strike called by the Jamaat-e-Islami.
Mathai had said the president had been looking forward to the meeting with Zia.
Zia had called on Mukherjee when she visited India last October.
Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dipu Moni in Dhaka Tuesday had described the opposition leader calling off the meeting as "very unfortunate" and as an incident that "should not have happened."
According to Moni, Zia had herself sought the meeting with the Indian president.
Zia`s BNP had called a strike on Tuesday, while a key alliance partner, the Jamaat-e-Islami had called a two-day strike, March 3-4. The strikes coincided with the visit of the Indian president.
Nearly 70 people have been killed in violent clashes in Bangladesh between Jamaat and the police.
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