Crisis needs to be addressed internally

Biswal for inclusive political processes

Diplomatic Correspondent
nisha Bishwal

Expressing concern over the ongoing violence in Bangladesh, the US has said it was important for Bangladesh government to provide space for peaceful political opposition and to create inclusive political processes.

“There is a continuing political impasse and that there is a continuing violence, and we hope that government and opposition leaders can address these issues and can improve and advance beyond that political impasse,” said Nisha Desai Biswal, US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs.

She told reporters at a news conference at the Washington Foreign Press Center Thursday that the political tension needs to be addressed internally and that the US was standing ready to help.

“I think the Secretary (of State John Kerry) has stated that he stands ready to provide whatever support the United States can provide to support resolution of these issues.”

She said, “We do think that it’s very important that for Bangladesh, as a democracy, to have space for a viable political opposition.”

Biswal, while updating on the US policy in South and Central Asia, touched upon a wide range of issues on the ongoing political situation in Bangladesh, including Wednesday’s court order to arrest former prime minister and BNP Chairperson Khaleda Zia in connection with two graft cases.

“I’m not going to speculate on the charges that have been levied … we do hope and expect that there will be due process in terms of pursuing of any charges in any legal procedures,” she said.

“We are in very regular contact with all aspects of Bangladeshi society — the government, opposition, civil society. But there are fundamental issues that require internal resolution,” Biswal said.

She reiterated that the internal issues needed to be resolved by the Bangladeshi people and by the political leadership in Bangladesh.

“We have restated our concern that all political parties need to reject and renounce violence … ,” Biswal said.

While answering a question, she said, “But I will reiterate our strong feeling that there needs to be space for civil society; that fundamental freedom of the media and of the civil society need to be respected in a democracy and a democratic society like Bangladesh. And we would hope that that would be the case.”