Foreign diplomats worried as violence grips country

Foreign diplomats worried as violence grips country

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Foreign diplomats in Dhaka have continued to express their worries over the increasing violence arising out from the country’s political impasse over the nature of election-time cabinet that cast a shadow on the next general election. They urged the major political parties to make all possible efforts to maintain a positive momentum and use their wisdom rather than violence to find an agreeable solution for a free, fair and peaceful parliamentary election in the near future, for the long term welfare of this country and her people. After the USA, the UK and Japan, China and Canada expressed its concern over the growing violence. “Canada is deeply concerned by the mounting and deadly violence that has injured many and claimed the lives of other… we’re saddened by reports of people killed or injured during protests across Bangladesh,” said a statement of Canadian High Commission in Dhaka on Tuesday. The country urged all parties to end the violence, to work toward peacefully resolving the conflict and to reverse the growing divisions in Bangladesh society. “We urge both parties to engage in dialogue and to act in good faith in trying to find a resolution to the current political impasse. This includes cooperation and participation with all parties acting in good faith,” it said. A constructive dialogue between the government and the opposition is critical so that the country can find a way forward towards free, fair and credible elections, the statement mentioned. “Good faith political dialogue will help create an environment free of political unrest and violence,” it added. It said Canada is concerned at the cost this violence and political turbulence have inflicted on the Bangladesh economy and its people, particularly those at the bottom who are the most vulnerable. “While engaging in peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right, we believe violence is never the answer,” it said. The use of violence by any political party or group is against the values espoused by Bangladesh – values such as respect for human rights, democracy and pluralism, it said. “All parties and political organizations should refrain from violence and engage in dialogue to address ongoing political issues and to ensure that the upcoming general election is transparent, inclusive, credible and peaceful,” the statement said. In the lead-up to parliamentary elections, the statement said, Canada continues to call on all parties to respect the rights to freedom of expression and of assembly and urges everyone to exercise these rights in a peaceful and democratic manner. In another statement issued on Monday night, Chinese envoy in Dhaka Li Jun said, “I’m deeply worried over the increasing violence arising from the political impasse in Bangladesh.” Against this backdrop, he said, they welcome the recent positive developments, including the telephone conversation between Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia to find a way out of the current political stalemate. “As a friend of Bangladesh, China encourages the major political parties in Bangladesh to make all possible efforts to maintain such positive momentum and to use their wisdom rather than violence to find an agreeable solution for a free, fair and peaceful parliamentary election in the near future, for the long-term welfare of this country and her people,” the statement said. On Sunday, Japanese Ambassador in Dhaka Shiro Sadoshima voiced deep concern over the escalation of violence in Dhaka metropolitan area and elsewhere in the country. “I’m deeply concerned over the escalation of violence and hostility,” the Japanese envoy said in a statement. He urged both the ruling and opposition parties to exercise restraint prevent losses on its citizen’s safety and welfare over the path of the resolving the political confrontation. The United Kingdom 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. “Like so many others in Bangladesh, I welcome news of progress towards a continued and constructive dialogue between the Awami League and BNP, and hope we will not witness further violence over the coming days,” said British High Commissioner Robert Gibson in a statement. Voicing concern over countrywide violence and deaths, the USA on Sunday urged the major parties in Bangladesh to engage in constructive dialogue to find an agreed way forward to hold free, fair and credible elections. “We’re concerned by the violence and deaths that have occurred. America continues to urge the major parties in Bangladesh to engage in constructive dialogue to find an agreed way forward to hold free, fair and credible elections,” said a statement issued by the US Embassy in Dhaka. US envoy in Dhaka Dan Mozena said he is encouraged by developments, including most recently the telephone conversation between Prime Minister Hasina and Begum Zia, and hopes these positive developments will culminate soon in a constructive dialogue between the major parties on the best way forward for achieving free, fair and credible elections. “America’s message to all political players is that violence is not a part of the democratic process and is not acceptable. While engaging in peaceful protest is a fundamental democratic right, we firmly believe that violence is never the answer,” he said. Mozena said the US government look to the government of Bangladesh to ensure the safety of all its citizens and encourage all Bangladeshis to peacefully express their views. “We call on all parties to ensure that they use peaceful means to pursue their objectives,” the statement said. – UNB

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