Room still there for compromise

Blake says about Yunus’ removal after meeting PM; Muhith says Yunus could be a fellow at GB
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Robert Blake yesterday said “there is still room for compromise” in resolving the issue arising from the removal of Nobel laureate Prof Muhammad Yunus as the Managing Director of Grameen Bank he founded.
“Such a compromise will also allow us to continue very good progress that we made in our bilateral relations,” Blake told journalists after an hour-long meeting with Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes at the Foreign Office.
Blake, on a four-day visit to Bangladesh, met with the foreign secretary after a call-on with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina earlier in the day.
“I had a very good, productive and constructive meeting with Prime Minister Hasina,” Blake said in reply to a question. “We discussed a wide range of issues on our bilateral agenda. We also discussed Dr Yunus and I expressed our hope that a compromise will be found that will ensure the integrity and independence of the Grameen Bank.”
Blake said, “I will leave it to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and her team to describe their position. I hope a successful resolution can be found.”
A US Embassy press statement issued after Blake’s meeting with Hasina said, “They discussed a full range of bilateral and multilateral issues, including counter-terrorism, economic development, regional and global security, and civil society.”
It said, “They reiterated their respect for Dr Muhammad Yunus and expressed hope, shared by the US Congress and the public at large, that an agreement could be achieved and that nothing would be done that might damage the effectiveness and integrity of Grameen Bank.”
Sir James Wolfensohn, former president of the World Bank, also attended Blake-Hasina meeting, the statement said. Wolfensohn is in Dhaka to discuss microfinance in the region, it said.
According to Prime Minister’s Office sources, Foreign Minister Dipu Moni, PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Gowher Rizvi, Ambassador at Large M Ziauddin, Principal Secretary to the PM MA Karim, Secretary to the PM Mollah Waheeduzzaman and US Ambassador in Dhaka James F Moriarty were also present during Blake’s meeting with the prime minister.
Asked if Prof Yunus issue came up in the talks, PM’s Press Secretary Abul Kalam Azad said, “no comment.”
On Saturday, Blake met with Leader of the Opposition Khaleda Zia. After the meeting, he told journalists Washington expressed concern about the way the removal of Yunus has been handled. He hoped Yunus issue would be resolved amicably and said he and Khaleda held the same view.
Early this month Bangladesh Bank dismissed 70-year-old Yunus as Managing Director of Grameen Bank saying he was holding the post illegally beyond his 60-year retirement age. Yunus challenged the removal in the High Court, which upheld the central bank order.
Yunus then filed an appeal against the HC ruling with the Supreme Court. After a hearing on March 15, the full-bench of the highest court deferred the hearing by two weeks.
Yunus’ removal sparked criticisms at home and abroad. The US said it was “troubled” by this, and called for an honourable treatment of Yunus.
In his media briefing yesterday evening, Foreign Secretary Mijarul Quayes said Blake shared with him some thoughts to settle Prof Yunus issue.
Quayes did not provide details, but said he would share those with the finance ministry which he said is the competent authority to deal with the issue.
He however said he told the US official that the matter is now pending with the Supreme Court, and it is difficult to comment further.
Quayes said the government has nothing to do anything about it now.
The foreign secretary termed Bangladesh-US bilateral relations matured partnership with convergence of values and engagements. “Our relationship is at the advanced stage,” he said.
GOVT WANTS TO SHOW RESPECT YUNUS, SAYS MUHITH
Meanwhile, Finance Minister AMA Muhith said Yunus can stay with Grameen as an emeritus fellow, not as a managing director or chairman.
“Acknowledging his contribution, the government wants to honour him. He can stay as an emeritus fellow at the bank,” the minister said.
Muhith spoke after a meeting with Blake at the Economic Relations Division.
Muhith said the proposal to Dr Yunus asking him to stay aside as the managing director during a government probe into the microfinance bank’s activities is still ‘on the table’. “He can accept the proposal if he wants.”
On the meeting with Blake, Muhith said the US wants a respectful solution to the Yunus issue.
“He (Blake) wanted to know whether any solution can be reached before the Supreme Court gives its verdict on an appeal by Dr Yunus.”
“I told him that the settlement of the issue is not in the hands of the government. Yunus has filed the appeal and he has to withdraw it before any agreement can be reached,” the minister said.
Muhith said the US is anxious about the process of removal of Yunus as he is a person respected across the world. The US also expressed that the process of excluding Yunus was not decent.
“We also said the process of removal was not decent, but it would never have happened if he had resigned,” he said.
The minister ruled out the possibility of appointing Yunus as Grameen chairman — a solution proposed by the Nobel laureate himself to ensure a smooth handover of leadership to the next managing director.
“Yunus must leave the post of managing director. A committee has been formed to look into the issue of Grameen Bank. It will also look into the restructuring of the bank. We will have to wait until the committee submits its report,” Muhith said

Related News

Bangladesh hikes power price again in just 3 weeks

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The government has increased the retail power price again — by 5 per cent — along with an increase in the bulk price by over 8 per cent just 18 days after it had hiked the retail price on January 12 this year. The new retail prices and charges, announced for ... Read more

Achol Foundation reported 585 student suicides in 2022

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A survey by the Achol Foundation found that 585 students from schools, colleges, universities, and madrasas died by suicide in 2016. Among them, 340 were in school, 106 were in college, 85 were in university, and 54 were in a madrasa. The foundation revealed the information through a press release sent ... Read more

Mother, kid reunited by cop’s brave act

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A mother sold her two-month-old infant for Tk 30,000 to pay off debts. A police team reunited the mother and kid yesterday, three days after the terrible tragedy. The mother, Lima Hanufa, said her husband hasn’t worked in five years since a road accident incapacitated him. Lima, her family’s sole breadwinner, ... Read more

Taslima Nasreen claims she became a big victim of medical crime

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Exiled Bangladeshi writer Taslima Nasrin has accused a hospital in India of committing a “medical crime” by providing wrong treatment to her after she reportedly broke a bone in her leg. She claimed that doctors at the hospital conducted a total hip replacement surgery on her even though the X-ray report ... Read more

Boy found in the cargo container calls himself Fahim

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The boy found in a cargo container in Port Klang of Malaysia on January 17 calls himself Fahim and he could be Bangladeshi or Rohingya. A video clip of the boy, aged between 11 and 15, being rescued from the empty container went viral and in several clips the boy calls ... Read more

Sreemangal became cool at 5.6 degrees Celsius

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Sreemangal of Moulvibazar ha the lowest temperature of the season at 5.6 degrees Celsius in the 24 hours preceding friday morning. Mujibur Rahman, a Srimangal weather monitoring station officer, told UNB that the lowest temperature at Sreemangal was 2.8 degrees Celsius on February 4, 1968. Sreemangal is struggling with severe cold, ... Read more

Liver transplant: Sister saves brother

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Bogura resident 53-year-old Monetzar Rahman received a liver transplant from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU) physicians. At a press conference yesterday, BSMMU officials stated Montezar’s sister Shamima Akter, 43, gave 60% of her liver to save her brother. The Prime Minister’s Relief and Welfare Fund paid for surgery. BSMMU surgeons ... Read more

Biswa Ijtema first phase concludes with peace prayers

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The first phase of the Biswa Ijtema concluded today with the Akheri Munajat (final prayers), seeking peace on earth and prosperity for the Muslim Ummah. Thousands of devotees of all ages gathered at the Ijtema ground on the Turag banks and on the roads adjacent to the Ijtema venue during the ... Read more

Women use mobile phones more than men

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The latest survey from the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS) shows that more women than men in the country have access to mobile phones. The proportion of mobile phone use of the male and female in the last 3-month is 89.9 percent and 90 percent respectively, said the report. The BBS ... Read more

What does a ride on the metro cost?

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The Uttara-Agargaon section of the country’s first metro rail will be inaugurated tomorrow. Dhaka Transport Coordination Authority (DTCA), the government agency responsible for fixing metro rail fare, has published the full list of metro rail fares. The minimum fare was fixed at Tk 20 and the maximum fare for travelling from ... Read more

DGHS advises taking booster and using mask amid rising COVID-19 cases

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Health officials told people today to be careful, such as by getting booster shots and wearing masks in crowded places. This comes after a warning from the National Advisory Committee about a possible new variant that has already spread through China and been found in India. Because of a highly contagious ... Read more

Met Office warns of fog

News Desk : dhakamirror.com A light to thick blanket of fog is likely to envelope large parts of Bangladesh for up to 12 hours from midnight. Moderate to thick fog may occur over the river basins and northern part of the country and light to moderate fog elsewhere over the country from midnight to morning, ... Read more

Bangladesh celebrates Victory Day

Nahid Riyasad The nation celebrates 52nd Victory Day on Friday commemorating the freedom fighters whose supreme sacrifice freed the country from Pakistani occupation force in 1971. Thousands of people from all walks of life started gathering at the National Memorial in Savar to pay tribute to the 1971 martyrs from the morning after the president ... Read more

Bangladesh’s Saleemul Huq among Nature’s top 10 scientists

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The scholarly publication Nature has presented a selection of ten individuals who were instrumental in shaping the most significant scientific stories in 2022. Saleemul Huq, a Bangladeshi scientist, has made it onto the list for his work to get wealthier nations to pay for the losses and damages caused by climate ... Read more

Martyred Intellectuals Day: People paying homage to martyred intellectuals

News Desk : dhakamirror.com People from all walks of life have been paying tributes to the martyred intellectuals by placing wreaths at the Martyred Intellectuals Memorial in Rayerbazar this morning, marking the Martyred Intellectuals Day. Most of the people, including teachers and students from different educational institutions, were wearing black clothes, a symbol of mourning. ... Read more

Stakeholders can deal with Evaly on own accord

News Desk : dhakamirror.com HC says in full text of order The High Court in the full text of an order has cleared the way for banks and other stakeholders to deal with beleaguered e-commerce platform Evaly on their own accord. “Since this court has never passed any order to halt the activities of Evaly, ... Read more

Argentina plans embassy in Bangladesh

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Argentina wants to open a diplomatic mission in Bangladesh. South Atlantic News Agency Merco Press says that the decision may have been helped by the fact that Bangladesh cheered for Lionel Messi’s team at the World Cup in Qatar. Bangladesh has always had a lot of die-hard Argentina fans, but during ... Read more

BBC’s 100 Women list includes Bangladeshi student

News Desk : dhakamirror.com The BBC placed Bangladeshi student Sanjida Islam Choya on its list of the world’s 100 most influential women for 2022 because of her work to stop child marriage. The BBC says that Sanjida has stopped at least 50 child marriages in Bangladesh. When she was in school, she saw a presentation ... Read more

HSC enrollment starts Dec 8, classes start Feb 1

News Desk : dhakamirror.com Enrollment for the following academic year’s Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) courses will open on December 8 using an online registration system. Prof. Tapan Kumar Sarker, head of the Inter-Education Board Coordination Committee, said applicants can apply through December 15. He added the admission process will be posted on education boards’ and ... Read more

Umrah e-visa requires biometric data.

Elderly pilgrims may be affected, according to HAAB. News Desk : dhakamirror.com In order to receive their Umrah e-visas, pilgrims from Bangladesh and four other countries must submit biometric data, including “fingerprints,” to the Saudi authorities. According to a report citing an announcement by the Saudi Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, the other nations include ... Read more