Dhaka, Dec 11: UN-brokered talks have visibly yielded no outcome to end the election crisis in Bangladesh at the end of UN Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco’s visit to the south Asian nation.
Taranco wrapped up his six-day visit with merely the hope that the “two major parties will continue discussions”.
“I won’t answer that the dialogue failed,” Xinhua quoted Taranco as saying at his pre-departure press conference Wednesday evening.
He expressed his optimism saying that a “solution still possible if political will is there”.
“The two major parties agreed to continue talks. And the third meeting between the two major parties has been scheduled,” he said.
Taranco Tuesday extended his stay in Bangladesh by another day and deferred his meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina for Wednesday as he continued talks to end the crisis over the next general elections.
But the Taranco-Hasina meeting which was scheduled for Wednesday has also been cancelled.
The UN envoy Saturday launched his hectic mission to reconcile disputes between the country’s two major political parties over polls-time government in last-ditch efforts to resolve the bloody conflict that left scores of people dead since January.
Two-time former prime minister Khaleda Zia has asked Hasina to bring back a non-party caretaker system, failing which the opposition would not participate in the next elections because it feared an election without a non-party caretaker government would not be free and fair.
The UN envoy on political affairs heading a five-member delegation arrived in Dhaka last Friday night on a four-day visit to negotiate between the feuding parties for holding the polls with participation of all.
From Saturday morning, the UN emissary met a cross-section of people here including top political leaders, civil society men and envoys of different countries in Bangladesh and expressed hope that there was possibility of finding a peaceful solution to the deadlock.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Wednesday made a phone call to Hasina to express his concern over the prevailing situation and countrywide violence which left dozens of people dead since last month.
During the phone conversation, the UN chief also expressed the hope that the dialogue between Hasina’s Awami League (AL) and Khaleda’s bangaldesh Nationalist Party (BNP) would continue and be fruitful.
The top leaders of Bangladesh’s two major political parties held phone talks Oct 26, the first direct conversation since January 2009 when the Hasina’s cabinet took oath of office.
Although both parties sought dialogue to end the impasse over the formation of the polls-time government, no headway has been made.
Against this backdrop, the UN engaged itself in Bangladesh’s election crisis and brokered the talks.
While the AL-led government proceeds with steps to hold the polls being in the power, the opposition BNP and its 17 allies have demanded a non-party caretaker government to oversee the polls slated for Jan. 5.
With the elections less than a month away, H.M. Ershad, chairman of the Jatiya Party which was a key ally of Hasina’s BNP-led ruling grand alliance until last month, said his party would also boycott the polls.
Former military strongman Ershad, who ruled Bangladesh for nearly nine years from 1982 to 1990, cited the lack of proper atmosphere as the reason for not participating in the polls.