Yunus issue won`t affect US-B`desh ties: Moni

Bangladesh said that removal of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus from his Garmeen Bank would not strain ties with the US.

Updated: Mar 04, 2011, 20:56 PM IST

Dhaka: Bangladesh on Friday said that removal
of Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus from his Garmeen Bank would
not strain ties with the US, even as the acclaimed
micro-financier is set to fly to Washington soon to hold a
`crisis meeting` with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

"Our ties (with US are extensive and comprehensive.
We have common stance on many international issues. So, we
don?t think this decision can affect our relations and it is
also not logical due to the government lawful action," Foreign
Minister Dipu Moni said.

In a related development US embassy said Yunus was set
to fly to Washington to hold crisis meeting with US secretary
of state Hillary Clinton, a personal admirer of him.

"Secretary Clinton looks forward to meeting Dr.
Yunus on March 8 in Washington to discuss this concern and
other issues," a US embassy spokesperson told newsmen here.

In a statement issued in Washington, US Senate
Committee on Foreign Relations chairman John Kerry also
expressed his "deep concern" over "efforts to remove" Yunus
following a dispute with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina`s
government saying "the international community would watch the
situation closely."

Meanwhile, Moni added that not only Bangladesh, "any
independent and sovereign country has the right, power and
responsibility to take decisions and enforce those lawfully
and any person or country can disagree or may have different
opinions about the decisions".

The foreign minister`s comments came a day after US
ambassador in Dhaka James F Moriarty declined to comment as
asked if Yunus`s removal would affect Dhaka-Washington ties.

But, he said "my government remains deeply troubled"
despite a "very thorough explanation given" by finance
minister AMA Muhith at a meeting with foreign envoys and
representatives of multilateral organisations.

"We know very well that it would tarnish our image
globally but we had no alternative to firing removing Muhammad
Yunus from the position of managing director of the Grameen
Bank as all government efforts to find an honourable solution
went in vain," Muhith told the meeting.

But emerging from the meeting Moriarty questioned the
process of his removal by a Bangladesh Bank letter, while
media reports widely indicated it was led by political motive
amid a growing row between Yunus and premier Sheikh Hasina.

"It strikes us. It is an unusual way to handle a Nobel
laureate, who is considered outside the country as one of the
greatest Bangladeshis," the envoy said.

Yunus, who enjoys huge international admiration for
his model of microcredit operations, was fired from the
pioneering micro lending agency under a central Bank decision
on grounds of "faulty" appointment 11 years ago, "flouting the
banking rules".

PTI