Dhaka, Bangladesh (BBN) – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has announced that the United Nations will soon be sending an electoral team to Bangladesh ahead of next month’s parliamentary polls, which he described as a “historic opportunity” for the South Asian nation.

“I have informed the Government and the political parties that the UN will dispatch a small team of highly capable and prominent individuals who will visit in the coming weeks to assess the conduct of the election and report to me,” the UN chief told reporters in the capital, Dhaka on Sunday.

“It is the world’s – and your – best interest to see Bangladesh achieve its full potential for democratic development through free and credible elections,” he added.

Calling the December ballot a “historic opportunity,” Mr. Ban stressed that “now is the moment to stand against the polarization and violence that have characterized past elections.

“I saw clearly that democracy belongs in Bangladesh there are no insurmountable obstacles to ushering in a better, brighter, more sustainable democracy after the elections in December,” he said.

That was among the messages Mr. Ban relayed in his meetings with President Iajuddin Ahmed and other top officials, including Chief Advisor Fakhruddin Ahmed and Foreign Advisor Iftekhar Ahmed, as well as leaders of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and the Awami League.

While in Dhaka he was also briefed by top Bangladeshi generals on the country’s role in UN peacekeeping. Bangladesh is currently the second largest troop contributor, with more than 9,000 troops and police officers serving in UN operations around the world, according to a UN press statement.

Bangladesh was the final leg of a four-nation Asia trip that also took the Secretary-General to the Philippines, India and Nepal.

BBN/SI/SS/AD-03November08-12:22 PM (BST)