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Caretaker issue not on UN emissary's agenda: Hasina's aide

Caretaker issue not on UN emissarys agenda: Hasinas aide

Dhaka: Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's advisor Gowher Rizvi said Saturday that the visiting UN emissary will not discuss the caretaker government issue while trying to broker peace between the Awami League and BNP, local media reported.

"The election can be held within the constitution. There is no need to discuss the caretaker government. But there must be an even playing field in the elections," Rizvi quoted the UN envoy as saying after meeting with the premier, reported.

The caretaker government issue has been at the core of the current confrontation between the ruling Awami League and main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández Taranco, who is in Dhaka to mediate talks between the two major parties of Bangladesh, spent a hectic day meeting political leaders including Awami League president Sheikh Hasina and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia.

Bangladesh has been witnessing a political standoff following differences between the two parties over the dispensation that will oversee the 10th parliamentary election.

The BNP has refused to take part in the Jan 5 parliamentary elections unless it is held under a 'non-party' government.

But the ruling party that amended the constitution more than two years ago to scrap the caretaker provision installed an 'all-party' interim cabinet, in which BNP did not join, to conduct the polls.

During his meeting with the prime minister, the UN envoy sought to know whether the election date could be deferred in an apparent hint to bring the main opposition in the polls.

Sheikh Hasina in response said it was the Election Commission's (EC) jurisdiction. The UN emissary will meet the EC chief Sunday.

Fernandez-Taranco also called on the Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia. But the BNP did not divulge details of the meeting, saying they would reveal it later.

Fernandez-Taranco began his official tour Saturday by visiting the ministry of foreign affairs in the morning where he met Foreign Affairs Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali and Secretary Mohammad Shahidul Haque. His visit ends Dec 10.


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