US warns of deteriorating ties with Bangladesh over Yunus

Yunus & Grameen Bank have a positive reputation across world, especially US.

Updated: Mar 22, 2011, 21:40 PM IST

Dhaka: The US on Tuesday warned that its ties
with Bangladesh could suffer a negative fallout unless the
government reached a compromise with micro finance pioneer
Muhammad Yunus, with a top official linking Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton`s visit to Dhaka to a "successful negotiation"
of the issue.

"If there is no compromise, it will have an effect on
our bilateral relations," US Assistant Secretary of State
Robert Blake told newsmen at the fag end of his five-day visit
to Bangladesh during which he met Hasina and several other
senior government leaders.

He added that the "potential visit" of Clinton to
Dhaka would depend on a "successful negotiation" of the issue
that has arisen after the removal of Yunus from his position
as the Grameen Bank managing director last month on a
Bangladesh bank decision.

Blake, however, said Washington was still optimistic
that an "amicable resolution" would be reached by the parties
involved in the process as "this is a matter of great interest
in United States".

Asked why Washington was concerned with the issue, he
said "US nationals want (it) to be settled amicably".
He said "steps that have been undertaken to undermine
the free and open civil society also certainly have an impact
on our bilateral relation" as they played a crucial role in
Bangladesh`s democratic process.

"Yunus and Grameen Bank have a positive reputation
around the world, especially in US, where a lot of Yunus and
Grameen admirers are concerned about his unnecessary removal.
.. the international community have not accepted it even,"
Blake said.

Bangladesh faced growing international criticism after
the removal of 70-year-old Yunus under a decision of the
Bangladesh Bank that said his 2000 appointment as the Grameen
Bank executive chief was "faulty" as it was done without a
mandatory approval from it.

Twenty six US congressmen on March 15 had urged Hasina
to amicably settle the issue, and said "we are troubled by the
removal of Dr Muhammad Yunus from his position".

The group led by Joseph Crowley and Gary Ackerman said
Bangladesh made important strides in economic growth and
fighting poverty and improving the rule of law but
"unfortunately, the situation with Dr Yunus is beginning to
overshadow these concrete gains".

Yunus lost his initial legal battle in the High Court
which upheld a Bangladesh Bank decision to remove him.

But he filed an appeal before the Appellate Division
of the Supreme Court which is set to hear the prayer later
this month. Yunus has rallied huge support of the
international community and civil society groups.