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US for govt talks with Yunus (Author: Blake says compromise possible; Wolfensohn ba)
Posting Date:2011-03-22

The United States yesterday called for a dialogue between Prof Muhammad Yunus and Bangladesh government to reach a solution to the dispute over the status of the Nobel laureate in the Grameen Bank he founded.

''I do believe that a compromise is possible and I am encouraging dialogue between the parties to find a mutually acceptable solution,'' Robert Blake, US assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian Affairs, told a news conference at the American Club in Dhaka.

Replying to a question, he, however, said, “If there is no compromise, it will have an effect on bilateral relations.” He did not elaborate.

During his four-day visit, Blake met with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia, Finance Minister AMA Muhith, senior government officials, Prof Muhammad Yunus and civil society members. Former World Bank president James Wolfensohn was present during Blake's meeting with the prime minister.

The US had earlier said it was “troubled” by government's dismissal of Yunus as managing director of Grameen Bank on the ground that the 70-year-old pioneer of microfinance violated the bank's 60-year retirement law. Yunus denied any wrongdoing and appealed to the High Court.

After losing the appeal in the HC, Yunus has gone to the Supreme Court, where his petition awaits further hearing.

In a written statement yesterday, Blake said Prof Yunus has brought great honour to Bangladesh, and 'we in the United States have been deeply troubled by the difficulties he is currently facing.''

''As a friend and partner of Bangladesh, we are concerned about the dampening effect this will have on civil society in general and on the integrity and effectiveness of Grameen Bank in particular,'' he said.

The United States, he said, sees it as “a distraction and an unnecessary departure from all the great work being done in Bangladesh.”

Asked what could be the compromise, Blake said the United States does not prescribe any formula. 'It could be found through dialogue between Prof Yunus, Grameen Bank and Bangladesh government,' he added.

In reply to another question if the US stand on Prof Yunus is interference in Bangladesh's internal matters, Blake said, 'Prof Yunus and Grameen Bank have positive reputation in USA and among many Congressmen, members of the Bangladesh congressional caucus, President Obama and Secretary Clinton. This is a matter of great interest in USA,' Blake said.

Blake said Yunus is a Nobel Prize winner and recipient of the American Presidential Medal of Freedom and a Congressional Gold Medal. 'His work over the past decades to lift millions of women out of poverty is internationally recognized,' he added.

Asked if Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could visit Bangladesh this year, he said he will try to make a schedule “if Yunus' matter is solved”.

The US official praised Bangladesh's progress in economic development, counter terrorism and regional partnership.

“Bangladesh plays an important role in furthering peace and stability, both within its borders and across the region,” he said.

Bangladesh, he said, 'is the number one contributor to UN peacekeeping efforts, BRAC and other civil society groups are playing role in Afghanistan. Bangladesh recently sent a crack team of cholera experts to Haiti to lend expertise and assistance to that troubled country.'

Blake further said Bangladesh is one of a select few countries in the world that is partnering with the United States on the four signature initiatives of President Barack Obama : global health, food security, global climate and engagement with Muslim communities.

Bangladesh has made tremendous progress in MDGs especially in maternal and child health, he said. And further progress could be made in reducing human rights violation by the security forces and corruption.

Blake said he visited a shelter in Jessore for women victims of trafficking. He appreciated enactment of laws against sex trafficking and protection of migrant workers.

WOLFENSOHN FOR AMICABLE SOLUTION Talking to journalists after a meeting with Bangladesh Bank Governor Atiur Rahman, James Wolfensohn said, 'I am here to take a note of the microfinance industry, not just the current issue with Prof Yunus. I am going from here to other countries such as Vietnam, Hong Kong and China. This is part of an overall view.'

On the Nobel laureate, the former WB chief said: 'I just hope that the issue ends in peaceful resolutions because your country has been a great leader in microfinance.'

'I think your reputation is very strong. It would be my hope and belief that it will remain so. Whatever you are doing in your country is your business, not mine,' said the former WB president who visited Bangladesh as part of his global tour.

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Luna said on Wednesday 23 Mar 2011 at 17:04:30 :

why don't we honor Dr. Yunus that he deserves for our society!
This is a time Govt. should learn some lesson not put nose in private matter even someone is
antagonist for some reason.

This is a big issue for our country\'s image especially the Govt. because it tells Govt can meddle
in some public companies\' CEO or managing director for any reason. Dr. Yunus\'s Banking model is
highly appreciated and accepted around the world and you have guts to make him retired because you
don\'t like personal or political reason.

Giving Dr. Yunus homage will bring more reputation for country.

He is the only life long role model for our Business society in Bangladesh that should encourage
lots of our young generation taking risk and building billion dollars companies start from scretch.

It\'s time not to impose Govt. power and hamper individual unless there is a seriouse crime found.

Rashid said on Wednesday 23 Mar 2011 at 23:55:26 :

Dr. Yunus should stay!
I am a Bangladeshi American. I strongly believe that Dr. Yunus has done a lot of good things for our
country. I understand that the retirement age is 60 and that limit has been imposed due to the fact
that generally our mental and physical capacities start to decline at that age. However, exceptions
do exist and there are a lot of people who are able to construct and display what developmental
theorist Kohlberg calls it Post-Conventional moral dynamism and are very productive even at
progressed age. Considering Dr. Yunus’ international reputation, his well developed social contract
orientation and his capacity to hold Universal Ethical Principles make him an ideal candidate to
continue his current position at Grameen Bank. Bangladesh will benefit tremendously from his forward
looking leadership. We need him!

Ahmed Eliyas said on Thursday 7 Apr 2011 at 03:21:12 :

that concern to all
this is shame for us ...... the two parties playing political game with the prof mohammad yunus .

Ali said on Friday 8 Apr 2011 at 18:20:23 :

Make us sick
It is shame for us that no individual can go beyond two parties napotism and higher honor even
individaul person earning all the respect, wealth and reputation with own individual talents and
vision. We need more great people to have model for our generation than Shakeh Mojib and Zia and
their family. Believe me, politics is not family business that you become politician because of your
father or husband, have some law, economics or any other degree from Ive Leaguge school and follow
the democratic process.

Tipu said on Friday 22 Apr 2011 at 17:08:52 :

1. Can we compare Dr. Younus wih Shakh Mojib, Zia and any other national leader who added values (
either intrinsic or extrinsic)toward our contry Bangladesh? Is it mistake comparing each other for
discussion purpose? Please educate me.

2. Who was able to manage and continue to create growth of social collective well-being for long
peried of time?

3. Who is a Transactional Leader or Chrismatic or Autocratic Leader?

4. Who is much more justifiable in the process of democratic style?

5. Who has much more reputatin around the world?

Imrul Ali said on Thursday 9 Jun 2011 at 01:41:42 :

Do people realize to what extent this guy can reach.
Do people even realize what Dr.Yunus did? Let me put it in very few and simple words: he created a
banking system that caters to the poor in order to give them a chance to be part of a financial
system. His system is followed by many around the world and he is truly an innovator. He won a
nobble prize, does any one think that they gave it to him without him deserving it? This is really a
shame for Bangladesh. If anything this guy should probably run for President. Actually the
government fears that he will make his own party. Therefore, they are behind this poor fella. God
Bless! imrulzali@yahoo.com



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