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UN official to visit Bangladesh ahead of polls

IANS | Last Updated: Thursday, November 28, 2013 - 14:28

Dhaka: Nearly seven months after his maiden initiative to mediate talks between Bangladesh`s ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) over the nature of a polls-time government, senior UN official Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will visit the country next week.

A top official of Bangladesh`s foreign ministry has confirmed about the Dec 6 visit of the UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs, news portal reported. Fernandez-Taranco will arrive in Dhaka a day after the end of deadline for screening of nomination papers for the general elections.

On Wednesday, UN Resident Coordinator Neil Walker, Bangladesh`s Foreign Secretary Mohammed Shahidul Haque and Chief Election Commission Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad discussed the UN official`s scheduled visit, among various issues.

While visiting the capital city in May, Fernandez-Taranco had pitched for an immediate dialogue among political parties to find a solution to the existing political crisis.

"The quicker the dialogue starts, the easier it`ll be to find solutions," he had said after meeting different interlocutors including Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Opposition Leader Khaleda Zia.

He was in Dhaka "at the request" of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and had conveyed "strong message" to major parties.

However, the political situation remained volatile with escalating violence after the ruling Awami League installed an "all-party" cabinet from which the BNP stayed away.

The Election Commission has announced the roadmap to the parliamentary polls with the voting to take place Jan 5.

He will also meet the prime minister and leader of the opposition this time, apart from representatives of different political stakeholders.

Diplomats, particularly those of the western countries, are actively engaged in ending Bangladesh`s politics of confrontation.

The US Assistant Secretary for South Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, recently visited Dhaka and held talks with political leaders, apart from meeting the prime minister and the leader of the opposition.

First Published: Thursday, November 28, 2013 - 14:28

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