Haroon Habib

DHAKA: U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has said the U.N. hopes “fair, objective and credible” polls in December will guarantee Bangladesh’s peaceful return to democracy.

Mr. Ban, who ended his two-day trip to Bangladesh on Sunday, said the caretaker government and political parties should cooperate in holding the elections. “We discussed the forthcoming parliamentary election,” he told reporters following his talks with Bangladesh Foreign Adviser Iftekhar Ahmed Chowdhury. “I am convinced that the leadership of Bangladesh’s government and the political parties will have closer cooperation in this matter,” he said.

Referring to Bangladesh’s role in U.N. peacekeeping, Mr. Ban said: “I am very much grateful again for a strong partnership between the U.N. and Bangladesh, particularly in the area of peacekeeping operations.”Mr. Ban also met the government’s chief adviser Fakruddin Ahmed and leaders of the BNP and Awami League.

On Saturday, he said Bangladesh’s most pressing need is to ensure a peaceful transition to democracy and reform to stem a recurrence of confrontational politics.

The current political dialogue between the government and the parties in the process of transition must succeed, he said.

He lauded the government’s effort to hold a credible election. “The photo-voter list commands widespread confidence. I am proud that the U.N. was able to contribute toward this important achievement,” he said.