The United Kingdom on Sunday urged political parties in Bangladesh to seize the opportunity of dialogue and negotiate in good faith showing flexibility and putting the interests of the country first.
“We welcome the announcement of the Honorable Prime Minister and other indications from political leaders over the last few days that the door for dialogue is open. We urge parties to seize this opportunity, to negotiate in good faith, to show flexibility and to put the interests of the country first,” the British High Commissioner in Dhaka Robert Gibson said.
The British diplomat came up with the reaction as many journalists have requested to get a quote from British High Commissioner to Bangladesh about recent Bangladesh political development.
Gibson said the United Kingdom has long made clear its wish to see free, fair and impartial elections that lead to a sustainable settlement which reflects the democratic will of the Bangladeshi people. “We have encouraged dialogue between the Government and Opposition to create the conditions for such an election to take place.”
The diplomat, however, said it is not for the United Kingdom to dictate what shape or composition an interim administration should have. “What matters is that it should ensure the neutrality of the electoral process and that the people of Bangladesh are able to elect the Government that they want.”
He said they are aware of the ban on meetings and rallies in Dhaka and hoped that this will not detract from efforts to achieve an agreement on an interim administration or preclude legitimate political activity in Parliament and through the media.
“The United Kingdom hopes that all sides will act with restraint and do everything possible to discourage acts of violence,” Gibson said.
On Friday, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina proposed forming an all-party election-time government to oversee the next general election but fell short of making it clear who will head the interim administration.
“We want to hold the next parliamentary elections taking all parties with us. It’s my proposal to the opposition party that we can form an ‘all-party government’ comprising all parties for the election period,” she said in her address to the nation.