Ban, Kerry ask govt to engage opposition for stability, development

The UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon and the US secretary of state, John Kerry have urged the government to seek concrete ways to de-escalate the current political violence and to engage constructively the opposition for the long-term stability and development of the country.

They made urge when the foreign minister, AH Mahmood Ali, held separate meetings with them in Washington on Thursday.
The meetings were held on the sidelines of the ‘White House Summit to Counter Violent Extremism.’
The UN secretary-general encouraged the Bangladesh government to seek concrete ways to de-escalate the current political violence and to engage constructively the opposition for the long-term stability and development of the country.
Ban reiterated his concern over the loss of lives in the political violence that had occurred in Bangladesh since the beginning of January, said a readout of the meeting posted on the official website of the UN secretary general.
A foreign ministry press release said that the UN secretary general shared his concerns over the ongoing violence in Bangladesh. He said the government had the responsibility to protect people in general from violence, and that all political parties should exercise their political rights upholding the established democratic norms and principles.
In response Mahmood said that the government remained committed to ensure the human rights and security of innocent civilians who are being targeted by the terrorist acts being committed by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party-led alliance, and remained open to account for the lawful measures taken to this effect.
He claimed that the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, had taken various initiatives to create the enabling environment for an inclusive and participatory democratic process in the country. He regretted that the BNP leadership persistently rebuffed the government’s overtures, and instead chose the path of violence and terrorist methods at the expense of innocent lives.
Ban assured Mahmood of the UN’s continued engagement with strengthening the democratic and development process in Bangladesh. He stressed that the UN would continue to have dialogues with the government to understand the evolving political situation.
The foreign minister expressed his interest in having further discussions soon with the UN high commissioner for human rights ZeidRa’ad Al-Hussein, who was present at the meeting.
During a meeting with Mahmood at the US state department, John Kerry called for government action to end the violence peacefully, and underscored the government’s role in ensuring peaceful political expression for all parties.
They condemned the violence and extremism in the name of ideology or political expression, according to a foreign ministry release.
Mahmood and Kerry agreed to work together on a number of global issues, inter alia, climate change, countering violent extremism, terrorism, peacekeeping, human security, disaster preparedness etc.
Kerry expressed deep interest in working with Bangladesh in fighting climate change.
Mahmood requested Kerry to expedite repatriation of Rashed Chowdhury, one of the condemned convict for killing the country’s founding president Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who is reportedly hiding in the United States.
Both the leaders discussed Bangladesh-US bilateral relations and expressed their satisfaction at the current level of cooperation and acknowledged that the bilateral relations were expanding from strength to strength.
Kerry applauded Bangladesh for its huge success in the socio-economic fields and said that the US would be happy to continue expanding its cooperation with Bangladesh.
When Mahmood invited his counterpart to visit Bangladesh, Kerry responded positively and said that he would love to take the visit at the earliest opportunity.
Mahmood was accompanied by Bangladesh ambassador to the United States M Ziauddin, foreign secretary Md Shahidul Haque and director general (Americas) Mahfuzur Rahman. US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asia Nisha Desai Biswal assisted Kerry.
Earlier on the day, Mahmood attended the ministerial Segment of the White House Countering Violent Extremism Summit, which was addressed by US president Barack Obama.
The White House Summit, first of its kind, gathered government and civil society representatives, including faith leaders, from more than 60 countries to discuss a forward-looking strategy to counter the generational challenge of violent

Source: New Age

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