US lawmakers urge talks among Bangladesh leadersBy AP News Dec 14, 2013 10:42AM UTC
WASHINGTON (AP) — A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers is strongly urging Bangladesh’s prime minister and opposition leader to hold immediate talks to end a bitter political stalemate that threatens elections next month.
Three Republicans and three Democrats, including top members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the deadlock and related violence threatens Bangladesh’s economic progress and fight against poverty.
The near-identical letters, dated Thursday, were sent to Prime Minister Sheik Hasina and her political rival and former premier, Khaleda Zia. The committee made them public Friday.
Nearly 100 people have died in protests since October. The opposition wants an independent caretaker government to oversee the Jan. 5 election. The government has refused.
The execution Thursday of an Islamist opposition leader accused of war crimes has further stoked tensions.