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Cabinet will discuss military presence in dialogue: advisers PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 05 May 2008

The government will discuss at the scheduled meeting of the interim cabinet on Sunday the issue of the presence of the military representatives at the formal talks with the political parties, two advisers said, reports

Local government adviser M Anwarul Iqbal and commerce adviser Hossain Zillur Rahman told reporters separately at the Bangladesh Secretariat Sunday that the council of advisers would discuss the preparations for the dialogue, including the issue.

"Preparations for the dialogue are underway. We are continuing our discussion. We will discuss the matter (presence of the army) in the meeting of the advisory council today," Zillur Rahman said Asked whether the schedule of the dialogue had been finalised, Zillur said: "We have not taken a final decision on it.

The press secretary to the chief adviser has already spoken to you about the matter. He will let you know if the date is finalised." On the presence of the members of the armed forces at the dialogue, he said: "No decision has been made on it. We will make a decision on that after discussion in the advisory council meeting."

Iqbal, the other adviser, told reporters that he did not know anything about the matter. Pressed on the dialogue schedule and whether the talks would take place by May 8, Iqbal said: "We hope the dialogue will begin by this time. But we have not finalised the schedule yet.

It will be made known in a day or two." The acting general secretary of the Awami League, Syed Ashraful Islam, said Saturday they would not oppose the presence of army personnel in formal talks with the government. "We will not make any complaint if the government comes up for the dialogue along with the members of armed forces," Ashraful said.

"As part of the country, the armed forces can be present at the dialogue," he said. Awami League presidium member Suranjit Sengupta and BNP chairperson's adviser ASM Hannan Shah also spoke in favour of the presence of the army personnel in the talks.

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