Mozena asks parties to redouble talks effort

The US ambassador in Dhaka Dan Mozena on Thursday said a solution to ensure an election acceptable to all, which could give “Bangladeshi voters a choice”, still eluded the major political parties.He said the major parties ‘must deepen’ their dialogue to find some way “to work together to provide Bangladeshis the elections they want and deserve”.
Speaking at a conference at the Independent University, the envoy hoped that political leaders would “hear the demands” of the people for credible elections as he found political instability “the biggest challenge” at the moment for Bangladesh.
Bangladesh has been witnessing violent protests over the Jan 5 elections that the Opposition led by the BNP has boycotted expressing no confidence in the dispensation that would oversee the polls.
Amid impasse, United Nations mediated talks between the two sides so far failed to resolve the standoff.
Many senior opposition politicians have been arrested. With the deadline for submitting nominations to contest elections now expired, more than half the seats in parliament will be uncontested.
The US envoy once again called upon the two parties to re-double their efforts to overcome the deadlocked political situation so that the elections could be ‘credible’ in the eyes of Bangladeshi people.
He said he had seen potentials of Bangladesh to be the “next Asian tiger” and to become a middle-income country.
He identified deficient ports, roads and railroads, inadequate supplies of power and energy, poor rule of law, endemic corruption, tangles of red tape and deepening political instability were the challenges in realising the potential.
He, however, said all those challenges were “serious, but each one is surmountable”.
“Again, Bangladesh is blessed … it has challenges that can be overcome,” he said and suggested foreigners to set aside any notion that Bangladesh was a poor tiny country notable only for calamities.
“Forget all of those notions,” he said, “the reality is quite the opposite”