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Adviser offers no concrete comment on formal dialogue PDF Print E-mail
Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Staff Correspondent
Specifics on the 'forthcoming' formal dialogue between the government and political parties have yet to be pinned down, as a government adviser Tuesday made no clear statement about its fate following a meeting with the chief adviser.

"We are unable to say (on our part) when the main dialogue will take place," communications adviser Ghulam Quader told reporters at the Bangladesh Secretariat.

The adviser and three other interim cabinet members, who have been assigned to sit with political parties to build momentum before the expected dialogue, had earlier sat in a meeting with chief adviser Fakhruddin Ahmed at his Tejgaon office.

The other three advisers who sat with parties in recent days are foreign affairs adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury, LGRD adviser Anwarul Iqbal and commerce adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman.

Asked if the final dialogue would be held by the end of this month, Quader said: "There is nothing certain or uncertain – no apprehension that it will not happen. I don't say that it will be held, but I am not saying it will not."

"I am not saying anything---whether it's coming soon, or will be pushed back; not yes, not no."

On why the advisers met with the chief adviser Tuesday, Quader said: "We discussed routine issues."

On whether the government is considering freedom for Sheikh Hasina and Khaleda Zia, he replied: "It can't be said."

When the reporters brought up growing doubts among the public over whether elections would really take place in line with the roadmap, he said: "What can we do if they do not believe it?"

But, the communications adviser said: "The countdown is going on for polls. The election is approaching."

Asked to comment on the statement by new US ambassador James F Moriarty that it would be "extremely difficult" to hold elections under the state of emergency, he said: "That is his view."

On whether the state of emergency would be lifted, Quader said: "I can't say anything now." But he replied that the government was considering the suggestions made by political parties for relaxing emergency rules.

On the still pending meeting with one faction of the BNP, he said: "They will let us know when they want to come (for talks)."

When asked again whether the chief adviser gave any directive on the forthcoming dialogue, he repeated: "We discussed no directives or suggestions."
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