Major parties urged to engage in constructive discussions
“We believe a politically acceptable and constituently viable mechanism can be agreed,” EU Head of Delegation to Bangladesh Ambassador William Hanna told a joint press conference at a city hotel.
He hoped that Bangladesh’s parties will soon reach a consensus about the form of government to be in place during electoral period. “We would urge major parties to engage in constructive discussions, at the earliest opportunity, so that the countrymen can find a way forward towards free, fair and credible elections,” Hanna said.
Expressive deep concern about the excessive levels of political confrontation in Bangladesh, Hanna called on the main parties to engage in constructive dialogue, inside and outside parliament. “The mounting political violence in recent months, including attacks on minorities and their homes and places of worship, is of particular concern.”
Responding to a question on the possibility of military intervention, he said, “I don’t want to speculate about future.”
He said they would continue to work with Bangladesh Election Commission. “Lot of progress has been made.”
While responding to another question, Hanna said it is not for them to make any decision but it is the government and the people of Bangladesh to take decisions.
British High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert Gibson, German Ambassador Dr Albrecht Conze, Italian Ambassador Giorgio Guglielmino, Spain Ambassador Luis Tejada Chacon, Charge d’Affaires, Denmark Embassady Lene Volkersen, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of Sweden Karin Rohlin, Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the Netherlands Carel Richter and Charge d’Affiares, France Embassy Babou Kamichetty were present.
Responding to a question, Robert Gibson said dialogue, debate and discussion are means of resolving problems and it is the government and the people of Bangladesh to decide its future. He urged all parties to refrain from unleashing violence, and reiterated his call for dialogue.
Earlier, while responding to a question on labour issue, William Hanna said they are ready to work with Bangladesh and mentioned that German and GIZ have already working on that.
On improvement of labour standard, he said it has to be done now. “We call upon the Bangladeshi authorities to act immediately to ensure that factories across the country comply with international labour standards, including International Labour Organization (ILO) conventions.”
The EU missions’ representatives expressed their sadness at the terrible loss of lives following the collapse of a building containing factories in Savar last month.
“As the European Union is Bangladesh’s largest trade partner, its representatives are concerned about the labour conditions, including health and safety provisions, established for workers in factories across the countries,” William Hanna said.
He said the EU is willing and stand ready to assist Bangladesh in any way it can to meet the required international standards and welcomed the recent high-level mission of the ILO.
The joint press conference was arranged on the eve of Europe Day to be celebrated on May 9.
The Europe Day is the day when they celebrate the declaration of Robert Schuman in 1950 which laid the foundation for the EU.
The EU has 27 member states and a population of 500 million. “We face many new challenges, but history shows we do best when we remain united in our diversity,” Hanna said in his opening remark.