Ban writes to Khaleda

November 30, 2013

The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, again wrote a letter to the leader of the opposition in the parliament, Khaleda Zia, also the BNP chairperson, requesting her to end the ‘bitter disputes’ over the forthcoming national elections slated for January 5.
BNP vice-chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury confirmed the receipt of the letter and said that Ban had sent a similar letter to the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, also the Awami League chief.
Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury, media adviser to the prime minister, told New Age on Friday evening that he was not aware of the receipt of any such letter.
The office of the spokesperson for the UN secretary general, based in Washington, told New Age that they could not confirm whether a letter had been sent to the two leaders but stated that the political parties had been informed of the visit of UN assistant secretary general for political affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco.
Farhan Haq, the deputy spokesperson, told New Age, ‘We have made it clear to the political parties that Oscar Fernandez-Taranco will be in Bangladesh from the 7th to 10th for four days to encourage dialogue and to create conditions conducive to a parliamentary election.’
The letters were sent against the backdrop of current volatile political situation especially after the announcement of the schedule for the 10th parliamentary elections.
The Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led opposition alliance rejected the schedule and demanded the postponement of the schedule until an understanding was reached for free and fair elections.
Shamsher, a former foreign secretary, said that they had come to know that Ban had also sent a letter to Sheikh Hasina.
This was the third letter of the UN secretary general to Khaleda, in recent times, he said, adding that earlier the UN secretary general had sent her letters in April this year and December last year.
Ban earlier also talked with Hasina and Khaleda over telephone in August and stressed the need for a resolution to the present political crisis through dialogue between the two major political parties for holding credible and inclusive general elections.
Ban’s letters to Hasina and Khaleda came before the visit of the UN assistant secretary general for South and Central Asian affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco to Dhaka scheduled for December 6.
Fernandez-Taranco may hold talks with top leaders of major political parties during his visit.

-With New Age input

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