UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández Taranco on Tuesday said his four days’ efforts to break the political deadlock over the general election in Bangladesh have yielded some positive development as both the parties have agreed to engage in talks.
In a brief statement at city’s Sonargaon Hotel, the UN envoy said he has extended his tour by a day as “very positive development” has taken place. “I’ve decided to extend my stay in Bangladesh, given the very positive development that has taken place.”
Taranco said, “Today represents an important moment in the current context. At the invitation of the United Nations Secretary General, representatives of both parties have met and engaged in dialogue. I want to take the opportunity to applaud the decision to sit down and seize this important opportunity.”
The UN envoy said this shows political leadership, responsibility and courage and it is also an answer to the expectation of the people of Bangladesh. “Both sides have agreed to continue the dialogue in the spirit of goodwill, and compromise and to work constructively together to decrease tensions and build confidence.”
Earlier, in a major development of events in the country’s overheated politics, representatives of two major parties -- Awami League and BNP -- held a closed-door meeting with Taranco at the Gulshan residence of UN Resident Coordinator Neal Walker. The meeting started at 1pm and continued till 4:40pm, according to a diplomatic source.
Land Minister Amir Hossain, Industries Minister Tofail Ahmed, AL secretary general Syed Ashraful Islam and Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi represented the government while BNP was represented by BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam, BNP standing committee members Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan and vice chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury, the source said.
Soon after the meeting, Taranco reached Sonargaon Hotel at about 5:20pm and made his statement a few minutes later.
However, there was a rumor in the air all day long that two lieutenants of the two major parties -- Awami League and BNP -- sat in a closed-door dialogue in presence of UN Assistant Secretary-General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco in a Baridhara house - Dreamstar Duplex - at road number 7 and house 28.
Over two hundred media representatives crowded the residence for hours together but it remained a mystery actually who were there in the house.
Taranco will complete his mission through a press conference this afternoon at Sonargaon Hotel after his second meeting with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, scheduled to be held anytime on Wednesday.
Earlier, a UN body official told that the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs has postponed his press conference scheduled for 5:30pm Tuesday.
He said they have not yet been informed about the specific time extension of his mission which was originally scheduled to complete on Tuesday.
Since the start of his mission here on Saturday, the UN emissary had a series of meetings with the country’s squabbling political parties to encourage them to resolve their dispute over the composition of the election-time cabinet through dialogue.
Meanwhile, Taranco had meetings with Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, Jatiya Party chief HM Ershad, Jamaat-e-Islami, and there is a schedule to hold another meeting with opposition leader Khaleda Zia at about 6 pm today.
On Saturday evening, the UN envoy had meetings with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and opposition leader Khaleda Zia.
Very positive dev taken place: Taranco