Govt’s no to UN overture to talks

Acknowledging the UN chief’s letter with a call for dialogue, the Awami League government on Wednesday rejected outright the possibility of talks with the BNP.

“The government’s stand is clear: we don’t want to talk to any killer,” state minister for foreign affairs M Shahriar Alam said. “I don’t see any dialogue.”

Ban ki MoonThe state minister confirmed the receipt of UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon’s letter dated 30 January to prime minister Sheikh Hasina, two weeks later though.

“We were hearing (about the letter) but conspicuously the letter reached us two weeks later. We asked the UN resident representative the reason for the delay,” Shahriar Alam told newsmen at the foreign office.

Secretary-general Ban Ki-moon sent two separate letters to prime minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia to sit for dialogue to resolve the political crisis.

The government will prepare and send a reply to Ban Ki-moon’s letter to the prime minister, he stated.

Alam said the secretary-general requested the government to take steps for stopping any violence during the next elections.

He mentioned that the head of UN peacebuilding office, Oscar Fernandex-Taranco was earlier assigned to look into the issue.

The state minister, however, said there is no possibility of his arrival in Dhaka in the near future. “The letter said only if we want, he (Taranco) is ready to come here in the near future (with the task of mediation),” he added.

Denying if there is any pressure from international quarters for holding dialogue, the state minister said they would try to make sure that no activities of the government face adverse criticism internationally.

Shahriar Alam claimed that the UN chief condemned the violence and requested the prime minister deescalate the situation.

He also confirmed that the UN secretary-general also wrote another letter to BNP chairperson Khaleda Zia. “But I don’t know the content,” he said.

-Prothom Alo