US urges Bangladesh political parties to engage in unconditional dialogue

Staff Reporter:

The United States yesterday called upon the three “major political parties” to engage in dialogue “without precondition” over upcoming election to avoid violence.

“Ambassador (Peter) Haas has requested meetings with senior officials in all three major political parties to underscore the U.S. position regarding the upcoming elections,” the US embassy in Dhaka yesterday said in a statement providing copies to the mainstream media.

It said the US “urges all sides to engage in dialogue without preconditions”.

The statement reiterated that Washington “does not favor any political party over the other” adding that the US wanted free and fair elections conducted in a peaceful manner and called on all sides to eschew violence and exercise restraint.

“The United States will continue to implement our 3C (visa restriction) policy in an even-handed manner against those who undermine the democratic election process,” it added.

Hours after the US embassy issued the statement, state minister for foreign affairs Shahriar Alam told reporters that the upcoming election was an “internal matter of the people of Bangladesh” and would be held in line with the constitution and relevant laws “no matter who is doing what”.

He made the remark as approached by newsmen for comments on the US call.

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