Bangladesh Govt turns down talks with Opposition | india | Hindustan Times
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Bangladesh Govt turns down talks with Opposition

india Updated: Oct 03, 2006 19:52 IST
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Bangladesh Government on Tuesday turned down the opposition's demand that the first round of talks on electoral reforms be held at the US ambassador's residence here.

Ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) secretary general Abdul Mannan Bhuiyan struck down secretary general of opposition Awami League Abdul Jalil's demand to hold talks at the American embassy, where both were to meet over tea at the invitation of Ambassador Patricia Butenis.

"I am not going to the tea party ... US is a good friend of Bangladesh and wants to help us, but I cannot go," Bhuiyan told reporters.

He, however, did not specify why his party objected to the venue for talks.

The Awami League-led 14-party opposition alliance has staged months of protests to force the government to introduce electoral reforms ahead of the January polls and threatened to boycott elections if their demands were not agreed to.

The opposition has also demanded the removal of top election officials who are accused of being pro-government.

Bangladesh's parties are under pressure from the bussiness community as well as diplomats to resolve the issue across the table instead of resortng to onfrontation.

There were hopes of a settlement over the weekend when the AL said the two sides had agreed to hold talks on Tuesday.

However, just before the start of parleys, the opposition party said it wanted to start the talks at the US ambassador's residence.