Bangladesh Oppn accepts PM's offer for talks
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Bangladesh Oppn accepts PM's offer for talks

But the Awami League and its 13 allies would proceed with plans for a rally of one mn protestors in Dhaka.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2006 20:11 IST

Bangladesh's main opposition said on Saturday it accepted an offer by the Prime Minister for election reform talks but would still go ahead with a "million man rally" to push the government for changes.

"We're ready to talk with the government on election reforms including reform of the election commission and the caretaker government," Awami League general secretary Abdul Jalil said.

But the Awami League and it 13 allies would proceed with plans for a rally of one million protestors in Dhaka on Monday to maintain pressure on the government for electoral reform, Jalil said.

"We appreciate the prime minister's offer for talks to end the crisis. But we have questions about her sincerity. We're waiting for a written proposal and date for the dialogue," Jalil said.

The opposition parties have held a slew of strikes and protests over the past 15 months demanding reforms to the electoral system.

Hopes of an end to the impasse emerged last Thursday when Prime Minister Khaleda Zia proposed talks be held on reforms between the party secretaries of the ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and the Awami League.

"Ask your party general secretary to sit for a dialogue with our party secretary general," about the reform proposals, Zia said after earlier rejecting any dialogue on the subject.

In some 40 days, Zia's four-party Islamist-allied government is slated to hand over power to a non-party caretaker government that will oversee elections to be held by January 2007.

First Published: Sep 16, 2006 20:01 IST