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Ashton’s statement reflects EU position on BD: Hanna

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Staff Reporter
The European Union’s (EU’s) position on the issues related to the upcoming national election in Bangladesh has remained unchanged, head of the EU delegation to Bangladesh William Hanna said in Dhaka yesterday.
Hanna referred to the statement of the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission Catherine Ashton issued from Brussels on November 30 to clear EU’s position.
“That (statement) really reflects the position of the EU in relation to the upcoming election in Bangladesh. Have a look at it and read it …it covered various aspects in relation to the upcoming election in Bangladesh,” the EU Ambassador said.
He came up with the remarks while talking to reporters after a meeting with Foreign Minister AH Mahmud Ali at the latter’s office.
 Hanna said the statement is quite important and mentioned that it has been picked up by the different press quite accurately.
Sought his comment on Jatiya Party’s latest stance, Hanna said: “I’m not reacting to any news (JP position). If you’re interested in the EU position, that’s very clear in our statement.”
Catherine Ashton, in her statement on the preparation for general election in Bangladesh, mentioned that the EU is ready to consider sending election observers as it did in 2008. However, this depends on the political and security situation in Bangladesh.
The EU also called on the leaders of all political parties in Bangladesh to agree on a mutually acceptable formula so as to facilitate the holding of elections which fully reflect the wishes of people and urged political leaders to refrain from any actions that could spark further violence.
“Ending violence and finding a political solution through dialogue are essential to allow a peaceful, inclusive, transparent and credible election to take place. This can only happen if all sides can agree to move ahead in the interests of the country’s future,” the EU said.
Following the announcement of the general election in Bangladesh for January 5, 2014, the EU remains concerned that there is still confrontation between the major political groups in the country on the composition of the government during the electoral period, according to the statement.
The EU urged the political leaders to refrain from any actions that could spark further violence. “The EU remains concerned about intimidation and confrontation in the form of ‘hartals’ (general strikes) and about the arrest of politicians and human rights defenders,” the statement said.

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