AL-BNP meet, exchange proposals to end crisis

The ruling Awami League and opposition BNP in their third closed-door meeting here on Friday swapped proposals to reach a consensus for holding a free and inclusive election.   “We’ve swapped our proposals …they’ve given us their (BNP’s) proposals, and we’ve given them ours (to break the standoff). Now we’ll discuss those in our respective party forums,” Awami League general secretary Syed Ashraful Islam told reporters after the meeting that ended at about 6:15pm.   Asked whether the meeting was fruitful, Syed Ashraf parried the question.   Echoing Ashraf, BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir said, “We had talks with the Awami League leaders for three days for holding a free, fair and neutral election, and we exchanged our respective proposals. Now we’ll discuss the AL proposals at our party policymaking level. And the talks will continue.”   The third round two-hour long dialogue was held at the UNDP Project office, a house beside Heritage Restaurant at house number 10, road number 110 in between Gulshan 1 and 2. The second round meeting was also held at the same venue on Wednesday.   Land Minister Amir Hossain, Industries Minister Tofail Ahmed, AL secretary general Syed Ashraful Islam and Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi represented the government while BNP was represented by BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, BNP standing committee members Dr Khandaker Mosharraf Hossain, Dr Abdul Moyeen Khan and vice chairman Shamsher Mobin Chowdhury as they did on Tuesday and Wednesday.   Earlier on Tuesday, the Awami League and BNP representatives held their first closed-door meeting with UN Assistant Secretary General Oscar Fernandez-Taranco at the Gulshan residence of UN Resident Coordinator Neal Walker. Taranco was also in the second meeting held on Wednesday. – UNB