Foreign Secretary to visit Bangladesh Dec 4-5

New Delhi, Dec 3 : Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh is from Dec 4 paying a two-day visit to Bangladesh where she is expected to discuss the fraught political situation and the Jan 5 parliamentary elections with Bangladeshi leaders.

Besides meeting Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Md. Shahidul Haque, the foreign secretary will also call on Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Abdul Hasan Mahmood Ali, who is foreign minister in the interim government.

She will also meet Leader of Opposition and Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) chairperson Khaleda Zia and Jatiya Party chairperson Gen (Retd.) Hussain Muhammed Ershad.

This will be Singh's first visit to Bangladesh after taking over as foreign secretary on Aug 1, said a statement.

The visit comes even as five people were killed and 10 others injured in violence across the country on the fourth day Tuesday of the BNP-led 18-party opposition-sponsored 131-hour countrywide blockade of roads, rail and waterways. The BNP and its allies are pushing for postponement of the polls and indulging in widespread violence since October.

The US has also voiced concern over the spiralling violence and urged both Awami League and BNP to enter into dialogue as a means to find a way forward for holding free and fair elections. US Assistant Secretary for South Asia Nisha Desai Biswal had recently visited Dhaka and met political leaders, including Hasina and Zia.

Canada has also urged all political parties in Bangladesh to end the violence and work toward a peaceful resolution of the situation.

The Awami League formed a multi-party interim government to oversee the polls but the BNP has refused to join it and is demanded setting up of a non-party caretaker set-up.

--IANS (Posted on 03-12-2013)

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