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Bangladesh's Political Parties Discuss Country's Future with Emergency Government


The head of Bangladesh's army-backed interim government says he is hopeful that talks with political parties on Thursday will help move the country towards democracy.

Fakhruddin Ahmed, the interim government's chief adviser, told reporters Wednesday the talks will be successful if all the political parties pull together.

The parties are to discuss political reforms and how to hold free and fair elections scheduled to take place in late December.

It is not clear if Bangladesh's two main parties will participate in the talks. Neither the Awami League of detained former Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina nor the Bangladesh Nationalist Party of former Prime Minister Khaleda Zia, also in jail on graft charges, has decided if they will join the negotiations. Both parties are calling for their leaders to be released before sitting down with the interim government.

Fakhruddin Ahmed took over as chief advisor in January 2007 after months of political unrest and the cancellation of elections. His interim government imposed a state of emergency and began a widespread crackdown on corruption, including scores of top officials.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

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