US envoy in Dhaka Dan W Mozena has again pushed for “constructive dialogue” between the two bickering political parties, but said it was getting “very late” for the 10th parliamentary polls slated on Jan 5.
But Mozena said the real underlying issue was the "coming together in meaningful dialogue to agree on a way forward."
He was replying to media queries after meeting the communications minister Obaidul Quader on Tuesday.
The US has been calling for "redoubling efforts" to reach a consensus through dialogue before the polls.
Opposition BNP boycotted the Jan 5 elections demanding a non-party caretaker government for its oversight. They boycotted polls and resorted to relentless blockades and violence in which many people died.
The ruling Awami League detained many of Opposition’s senior leaders.
The two sides sat for talks through UN mediation but after the deadline for submitting the nominations had expired.
There have been three rounds of talks but so far a solution is not in sight.
The US envoy said the need of constructive dialogue now is "more than ever”, so that two parties “find a way forward towards a free and fair elections that is credible in the eyes of Bangladeshi people as soon as possible”.
He said during his meeting with the minister he clarified the US’s position that violence from any quarter was not acceptable, “it's not part of the democratic practice, it must stop immediately”.
He called upon the government to ensure all political parties have “political space” so that “they can have rallies, processions and meetings and that their offices can be open so that their leaders are able to lead freely”.
But he said the opposition parties have responsibility “to use political space responsibly and peacefully and to avoid violence”.
As the lengthy blockades paralyse businesses, the US envoy said Bangladesh needed “to get about the business of building Sonar Bangla”, when the country would become a middle income one.
“….that cannot happen in a situation of political instability and violence,” he said and that during his meeting with the minister they shared “the belief to move through the phase as fast as possible so that the stability returns to Bangladesh, the whole nation can again direct its energy to build Sonar Bangla”.