UN chief for Bangladesh’s peaceful transition to democracy


Dhaka : The UN wants Bangladesh hold a credible parliamentary election next month for a peaceful transition to democracy, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said Saturday.

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“I have expressed my sincere wish that this parliamentary election will be held in a more fair and objective and credible way that Bangladesh can have very smooth and peaceful transition to democracy,” he told reporters after a meeting with Bangladesh foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury.

He hoped that Dhaka’s leadership in the government and political parties will cooperate in the matter.

The UN chief arrived in Bangladesh capital in the afternoon on a two-day visit to discuss a wide range of issues related to politics, economy and social affairs, and to see for himself the country’s rural development.

He said he would meet Bangladesh President Iajuddin Ahmed, Chief Adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed and leaders of the two major political parties.

About the talks with Iftekhar, Ban said that he had a very good meeting with Bangladesh foreign minister with whom he had worked for several years.

The UN chief termed “very good” the Bangladesh-UN partnership and expected Bangladesh’s contribution the UN, especially in global peacekeeping missions, would be further strengthened.

“I’m very much grateful of strong partnership maintained between Bangladesh and United Nations, particularly in the area of peacekeeping operations. Bangladesh is the second largest troops contributing countries with 9,000 soldiers,” Ban said.

He said the meeting discussed how Bangladesh could contribute more troops for global peace and stability.

Earlier in the late afternoon, receiving the UN chief at Dhaka’s Zia International Airport, Iftekhar said that Ban’s visit was significant for both UN and Bangladesh.

Ban, who is now at the final leg of four-nation Asia tour, flew strait to Dhaka by a UN special flight from the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu in a two-day tour. He also visited India and the Philippines.

Ban’s visit to Bangladesh ahead of the general elections is considered to be a significant event as the polls, slated for Dec 18, would mark the nation’s return to democracy after two years of rule under an un-elected and military-backed interim government.

Iftekhar hoped that the United Nations will continue its support to hold a peaceful election in Bangladesh for a smooth transition to democracy.

Accompanied by his wife Yoo Soon-taek and other key UN officials, Ban will also meet Dhaka-based officials of the UN agencies Sunday morning.

He is also scheduled to place a wreath at the National Martyrs Memorial at Savar to pay homage to the heroes of Bangladesh’s war of independence before he flies to northern Sirajganj and Bogra districts to see disaster management and micro-credit programmes respectively on the last day of his tour, according to his itinerary in Bangladesh.

The UN chief is scheduled to exchange views with senior leaders of major political parties – Bangladesh Nationalist Party and Awami League – before winding up his visit with a news conference Sunday evening.