Related News They talk twice, agree to nothing AL, BNP talk finally UN special envoy Oscar Fernandez-Taranco yesterday urged the ruling and opposition parties to continue dialogue in the spirit of goodwill and with an attitude of compromise and reducing tension. He, however, remained tight-lipped about the details of the meetings between the Awami League and BNP. “I firmly believe there is ground for an agreement. Bangladeshi leaders must continue to come together,” he said prior to warping up his five-day visit to help the parties agree on a formula for holding free, fair, inclusive and non-violent elections. He said political leaders had the goodwill to end the crisis, otherwise there would not have been two meetings between representatives of Awami League and BNP on Tuesday and yesterday and an agreement to sit for a third. “This is an important accomplishment. In this dialogue, compromise would be decisive in finding a solution,” he said at a press conference held at Hotel Sonargaon. When asked if there was a proposal on the table to end the deadlock keeping Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in power, he said, “I will not go into the details … all the issues that are relevant to this current situation have been raised and discussed.” Asked about a proposal on curtailing the prime minister’s powers in the polls-time government, he again refused to go into details on the dialogue discussions. Taranco, the UN assistant secretary-general for political affairs, who was on his third visit to Dhaka in a year, said the solution had to be home grown. He said, “There are measures that would contribute immensely — a call by all sides to end the violence, the release of opposition political leaders, and a mutually satisfactory solution to concerns regarding the election schedule.” Asked whether his mission has been successful, he said, “Let me be very frank and sincere here … I’m very happy with the results.” About the second-time cancellation of his second meeting with the prime minister, he said yesterday was very hectic. “As you know many things are happening. It is a matter of scheduling.” When The Daily Star asked what could be the consequences if the dialogue failed, he said, “Everybody in the room knows what will happen if the dialogue failed. I won’t answer that question. This is a leadership issue, this is a decision that takes courage.” He sidestepped a question if the UN chief had telephoned the prime minister by saying Ban Ki-moon was actively engaged in Bangladesh as he liked the country very much and appreciated the progress it achieved in the socioeconomic areas. Sources in the Prime Minister’s Office, however, confirmed that Ban had indeed called Sheikh Hasina yesterday. In his opening statement before the press, Taranco said the current political crisis was exacting a heavy human, social and economic toll on Bangladesh. This has resulted in increasing tension and seriously threatens the hard-earned economic and social progress that Bangladesh had achieved. He strongly urged all to exercise restraint, uphold human rights, and to respect the rule of law. Taranco, who arrived here on December 6, had discussions with the prime minister, the BNP chief, foreign minister and foreign secretary, the chief election commissioner, a number of senior advisers to the prime minister and the opposition leader, as well as leaders of major political parties and representatives of the civil society.