"We do think that it's very important that for Bangladesh, as a democracy, to have space for a viable political opposition," Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, told reporters at a news conference at the Washington Foreign Press Center yesterday.
"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," she said.
While we have a great deal of concern about the level of political violence and think it's incumbent upon all political parties to repudiate violence, it's also equally important that government provides space for peaceful political opposition to be able to exist and to create inclusive political processes, she said.
"I'm not going to speculate on the charges that have been levied, except to say that we do hope and expect that there will be due process in terms of any – pursuing of any charges in any legal procedures," she said.
These are matters that are going to need to be addressed internally. I think the Secretary (of State) has stated that he stands ready to provide whatever support the United States can provide to support resolution of these issues, she said.
We are in very regular contact with all aspects of Bangladeshi society – the government, opposition, civil society. But these are fundamentally issues that require internal resolution, Biswal said.
These are internal issues that need to be resolved by the Bangladeshi people and by the political leadership in Bangladesh, she said.
"We have restated our concern that all political parties need to reject and renounce violence and – but we do also believe that there should be space in a democracy for a viable opposition and a more inclusive political process," Biswal said.
A special anti-corruption court ordered the arrest of former prime minister Khaleda Zia in connection with two graft cases after she repeatedly failed to appear for the hearings on February 25, a development which could escalate the ongoing political turmoil in the country that has claimed at least 110 lives.



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