US calls for free polls in B`desh, appeals for non-violence

The United States has called for free, fair and transparent elections in Bangladesh which are slated in January next year, requesting the political parties to resolve their differences through non-violent means.

Updated: Sep 11, 2013, 08:39 AM IST

Washington: The United States has called for free, fair and transparent elections in Bangladesh which are slated in January next year, requesting the political parties to resolve their differences through non-violent means.

The appeal came as Awami League of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Bangladesh Nationalist Party of Leader of Opposition Begum Khalida Zia visibly remained stubborn on their stance over the electoral system.

BNP is demanding restoration of a now scraped non-party caretaker government system for election oversight, while the League suggests the poll time administration will comprise elected representatives of major parties with the incumbent premier at the helm.

"We have repeatedly urged the leaders of the major parties in Bangladesh to come together and agree on a way forward that will ensure free, fair, and credible elections in the coming months," the State Department said in a statement.

"What the way forward looks like is for the parties of Bangladesh to decide. However, non-violence is essential to any solution," it said.

Secretary of State, John Kerry, has written letters to Hasina and Zia, encouraging them to engage in constructive dialogue on a way forward, the statement said.

In his letters, delivered to them by the US Ambassador Dan Mozena, Kerry had expressed concern over political situation in the South Asian country, which is now headed to polls.

Kerry`s communication came two weeks after UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called up Hasina and Zia in a bid to end the stalemate over the upcoming polls, while the global body had earlier warned the two parties about military intervention unless they could reach a consensus.

PTI