BNP on Monday received a letter from US Assistant Secretary Donald Lu urging the three major parties to engage in talks to resolve the political crisis ahead of Bangladesh's next general election.

BNP senior joint secretary general Ruhul Kabir Rizvi confirmed to UNB they received the letter.

He, however, declined to make any comment on whether their party will accept the US call for talks or not at this stage.

A BNP standing committee member, wishing anonymity, said the letter from Lu, assistant secretary at the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs, has been sent to party Acting Chairman Tarique Rahman.

"We scanned the letter and sent it to Tarique Rahman," he said, adding: "He'll decide on this."

BNP has long been saying it will not go for talks with the government unless it agrees to step down and accept the demand for holding the next election under a non-party neutral government - precisely what the government has said it would not do.

Earlier in the day, US Ambassador Peter Haas went to Jatiya Party Chairman GM Quader's Banani office and personally handed over the letter to him.

Later, talking to reporters, Jatiya Party Secretary General Mujibul Haque Chunnu told reporters that the same letter would be given to the Awami League and BNP.

Approached about the reported letter, US Embassy Spokesperson Stephen Ibelli told UNB that they do not comment on private diplomatic communications as part of their "long-standing practice."

Meanwhile, it emerged that Ambassador Haas has requested meetings with senior leaders of three major political parties to underscore the US position regarding the upcoming national election.

The United States will also continue to implement their "3C policy" (visa policy) in an even-handed manner against those who undermine the democratic election process, said a media statement issued by the US embassy. Washington wants free and fair elections conducted in a peaceful manner and calls on all sides to eschew violence and exercise restraint.

Since October 28, the US has taken to urging all sides to engage in a dialogue without preconditions.

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