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Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina Talks with UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon
By Ataur Rahman
Bangladesh Correspondent
Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina (left) shakes hands with with UN Sec. Gen. Ban Ki-Moon prior to thier talks.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina on Auguest 23, 2013 called upon the opposition to join the next parliament session and place their proposal regarding the next elections and the polls-time government.

"We would welcome any sort of proposal of the opposition if it gives in the upcoming session of the Jatiya Sangsad," she said, adding she herself and her government always believe in solving any problems through discussion.

The Prime Minister said this while talking to United Nations (UN) Secretary General Ban Ki-moon over phone this morning.

PM's Media Advisor Iqbal Sobhan Chowdhury confirmed it to Journalists.

"During the telephonic conversation, the Prime Minister apprised Ban Ki-moon of the next general elections and the current political situation," Iqbal said.

Sheikh Hasina informed the UN secretary general that she earlier gave a proposal to Opposition Leader Begum Khaleda Zia to sit for a dialogue to solve the problems.

"But not responding to the proposal, she (Khaleda Zia) issued a 48-hour ultimatum to the government and later the opposition destroyed peace and political environment by unleashing violence, terrorism and subversive acts to topple the government," Sheikh Hasina said.

The Prime Minister said her government wants peace and to see peaceful handover of power through free, fair and impartial elections. Sheikh Hasina expressed her high hopes that the next general election would be held in due time as per the constitution and the people would be able to cast their votes without any barrier.

The Prime Minister said the opposition had brought an adjournment motion about the polls-time government in parliament and the treasury bench agreed to discuss the issue in the House. "But the opposition withdrew its adjournment motion within three hours as it was reluctant to solve the problems," she said.

Sheikh Hasina said the treasury bench wanted to discuss the issue in the Jatiya Sangsad as it tried to solve any political issue through discussion, dialogue and in peaceful environment. The Prime Minister said the 15th amendment to the constitution was brought following the verdict of the country's apex court.

She said the apex court declared the 13th amendment to the constitution as illegal as any unelected government is conflicting with the constitution. "Only the elected representatives would run the country," the court said.

Sheikh Hasina said the parliamentary special committee which was tasked to bring an amendment to the constitution brought the amendment after a long discussion with all stakeholders including civil society and media representatives. "Apart from the lawmakers, the JS special body discussed the issue with all and such a long time discussion was not held in the past in the parliamentary history," she said.

PM's Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said the UN secretary general made the phone call at about 11.30 am and the conversation lasted for about 30 minutes.

The UN Secretary General lauded Bangladesh's tremendous successes in the fields of democracy, economic growth and millennium development goals under the leadership of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

"Bangladesh has been acclaimed internationally for its firm stance against terrorism, militancy and fundamentalism," he said, adding the world needs a leadership like Sheikh Hasina.
Ban Ki-moon expressed the hope that Bangladesh's advancement in democracy, economy and anti-militant activities would continue under the leadership of Sheikh Hasina. The UN secretary general invited the Prime Minister to attend the next UN General Assembly session slated for the next month. Accepting the invitation, Sheikh Hasina said her participation in the UNGA would depend on the situation as the JS session is likely to continue that time.

The Prime Minister also invited the UN secretary general to visit Bangladesh at his convenient time. Ban Ki-moon also expressed sympathy to Sheikh Hasina for the assassination of Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and most of his family members on august 15, 1975, and the August 21 grenade attacks in 2004 that claimed lives of 24 AL leaders and workers.

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Mr. Ataur Rahman serves as Bangladesh Correspondent for The Seoul Times. He earned his Master of Commerce degree from Dhaka University in 1985. Mr. Rahman has vast journalistic experience including his stints at "The Daily Janata" and "The Dainik Bangla."






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