Washington: The US has called for concerted effort at dialogue to bring the two major political parties of Bangladesh close together to find a way out for holding free, fair and peaceful elections there.
"While we really welcome the announcement of elections on January 5th, we do think that there is an urgent call for concerted efforts at dialogue to bring the two major political parties closer together," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal told foreign journalists at a news conference.
"That had been my message and my emphasis during my trip, and that continues to be our call today. We also call on all sides to restrain violence," Biswal said during her media interaction at the Washington Foreign Press Center.
Biswal recently was in Bangladesh talking to the leaders of the major political parties in the country.
"Violence has no place in a democratic process, and we think it`s very important that all sides find ways to move forward to have free, fair, credible and peaceful or violence-free elections in Bangladesh," said Biswal.
Biswal said the US and its friends in the international community don`t have a stake in who wins what election.
"But we would like to see a process that is free, fair, credible and free from violence. That has been the message that we have underscored. And for that to take place, both of the major political parties need to come together," she said.
The solutions are not going to come from the international community. The solutions are there within the people and the institutions and the parties of Bangladesh, she argued.
"What needs to happen is for that dialogue that allows a compromise to emerge that will allow for elections to take place that the people of Bangladesh can have confidence in and can feel are credible. That has been our underlying message publicly and privately," Biswal said.
Noting that Bangladesh has enormous future potential, she said the economic growth that the country has experienced over the past decade, the gains that it has made on development, on the improvements in health, in maternal mortality, in child mortality, the drops in fertility rates, the improvements in food security is an incredible story of progress.
This is also an incredible potential for the future given the talk of more integrated region between South and Southeast Asia.
"The major challenge, in my opinion, that stands in the way of Bangladesh realising that future is if there`s not a political transition that is free, fair, smooth and acceptable to the Bangladeshi people.
We would like to see this country continue to move forward on the path towards development and prosperity," Biswal said.