5:16 pm - Thursday May 23, 4718

Taranco to meet Hasina, Khaleda this evening

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernández Taranco will meet Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina at 4pm at her official residence Ganobhaban and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia at her Gulshan residence at 7pm on Saturday, according to PMO and BNP sources.

Taranco arrived here in Dhaka on Friday evening amid the country’s murky political situation that has cast a shadow on its January-5 general election.

Taranco reached HazratShahjalalInternationalAirport around 8:05 pm by an Emirates flight.

His visit is aimed at encouraging ‘dialogue and conditions’ conducive to parliamentary elections scheduled for January 5, said a statement issued by UN Resident Coordinator in Dhaka, Neal Walker.

tarancoTaranco will start his official tour on Saturday and will meet Foreign Secretary M Shahidul Haque at 10 am, Foreign Minister AH Mahmud Ali at 10:30am at the latter’s office on the day.

During his stay here, the UN envoy will also meet Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad, senior leaders of the Awami League and BNP, representatives from the government, civil society and the international community to help ensure free, fair and credible polls in Bangladesh.

Taranco will leave Dhaka on December 10 and report back to the UN chief on the outcome of his Bangladesh visit ahead of the election, said an official source.

On May 13 in Dhaka, he gave an idea what could be the consequences in case of unreliable polls and fruitless dialogue saying, “Everybody knows the consequences. The history of Bangladesh is already a good indicator what consequences can be if you don’t have a free, fair and credible election…the political actors could clearly understand what the consequences would be.”

Last week, Ban Ki-moon wrote to Bangladesh’s two top leaders — Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia — and encouraged them to reach a mutually agreed consensus through ‘constructive dialogue’ to hold a ‘non-violent’ election in Bangladesh with the participation of all parties.

The UN envoy visited Bangladesh from May 10 to 13 at the request of Secretary-General of the United Nations Ban Ki-moon.

During his last visit to Dhaka, he met the Prime Minister, the BNP chairperson, the Speaker of Parliament, the Foreign Minister, the Chief Election Commissioner, leaders of major political parties, and the representatives of civil society and the media.

Taranco conveyed to all interlocutors a strong message from the Secretary-General about the urgent need for more meaningful and constructive political dialogue to create conducive conditions for the successful holding of the election.

During his last visit, the UN envoy also stressed the need for an early solution to the issue of a polls-time government through dialogue to ensure a free, fair and peaceful national election reminding political parties that ‘time is running out’.

Earlier, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia and urged them to hold talks for a peaceful resolution of the political crisis.