12:00 AM, May 15, 2014 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, May 15, 2014

Keep doors for dialogue open

Keep doors for dialogue open

Envoys tell govt
Diplomatic Correspondent

Foreign envoys in Dhaka yesterday encouraged the government to keep the window of dialogue with the BNP open for an agreed mode of level playing field within the framework of the constitution.
In response, the government representatives have said the BNP first has to dissociate itself from Jamaat-e-Islami, shun violence and act responsibly before any dialogue.
The exchange of views between diplomats and the government representatives took place at a diplomatic briefing of the foreign ministry at the state guesthouse Padma yesterday.
Foreign Minister AH Mahmood Ali, Prime Minister's Political Affairs Adviser HT Imam, International Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi and State Minister for Foreign Affairs Shahriar Alam spoke at the programme, the first of a series of briefings to be held in phases.
According to sources, several envoys questioned the imposition of preconditions for a dialogue. They also asked why the government wanted the BNP to distance itself from Jamaat for the dialogue since the latter was not a banned organisation.
Foreign Minister Mahmud Ali then referred to the PM's call for BNP's dissociation from Jamaat for a political dialogue which, he claimed, found importance in the European Parliament and some other Western governments supporting the secular constitution of Bangladesh.
Gowher Rizvi said the government's initiative for a dialogue before the January 5 election failed because of the BNP as it had stuck to its demand for a caretaker government, which was totally unconstitutional.
Unless the BNP acts responsibly to come to terms and negotiate within the constitutional, parliamentary and legal frameworks of the country, no dialogue can yield a positive outcome, Rizvi observed.
He also called upon the international community to support the current course of normalcy and political stability in Bangladesh for the sake of mutual interests.
The foreign diplomats also expressed concern at the recent incidents of abductions, extra-judicial killings and murders and called for proper investigation into these and punishment of the perpetrators.
In reference to the seven-murder incident in Narayanganj, HT Imam assured the envoys that the government remains unequivocal in its commitment to bring to book the culprits regardless of their political affiliations.
The same goes for the members of the law enforcement agencies as well if they are found guilty, he added.
Ambassadors and representatives of 13 countries including Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, the Holy See, Japan, North Korea, South Korea, Norway, Russian Federation, Switzerland and the USA and the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh were present at the briefing.



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