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UN envoy to visit Bangladesh amid political turmoil

UN envoy to visit Bangladesh amid political turmoil

Dhaka: With Bangladesh's opposition refusing to relent over its main demand for a caretaker government during parliamentary polls, a UN envoy will try to broker peace between the ruling Awami League and main opposition party Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

UN Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernández-Taranco will arrive here Friday evening in an apparent last-ditch of effort to broker a deal between the two main parties -- AL and BNP, reported.

This will be Fernández-Taranco's second visit following his maiden effort to "encourage dialogue" nearly seven months ago. It comes as the main opposition BNP and 17 other parties Thursday decided to extend their 131-hour non-stop blockade by three more days from Saturday onwards.

No poll aspirant from former prime minister Begum Khaleda Zia-led BNP and its 17 allies, including the key Bangladesh Jamaat-e-Islami party has submitted nomination papers. The deadline for submission of nomination papers was Dec 2.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka, Neal Walker, in a statement Thursday said Fernández-Taranco would "encourage dialogue and conditions conducive for parliamentary elections scheduled for 5 January 2014".

He will also meet representatives from the government, opposition, parliament, civil society and the international community.

The UN envoy is scheduled to meet Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali Saturday morning and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in the afternoon. He will also meet the Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad and the BNP chairperson Zia.

Fernández-Taranco had visited Dhaka during May to find a solution to the same political crisis "at the request" of the UN Secretary General Ban ki-Moon.

The UN chief had also spoken to the two top leaders but the solution remained elusive.

Bangladesh's opposition fears an election without the non-party caretaker government will not be free and fair. Nearly 40 people have been killed in the recent violence across Bangladesh.


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