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France takes up Yunus case with Bangladesh


Dhaka : A special envoy of French President Nicolas Sarkozy has asked the Bangladesh government to ensure that Nobel laureate Muhammad Yunus is “effectively associated” with Grameen Bank, a media report said Monday.

Special envoy Martin Hirsh conveyed this at a meeting he had with Foreign Minister Dipu Moni last Saturday, the New Age newspaper said.

The French effort, announced last month by Sarkozy, who telephoned Yunus, follows last month’s visit of US assistant secretary of state for South Asia Robert Blake.

“The French envoy raised the issue of Muhammad Yunus and the Grammen Bank,” the foreign ministry said in a release issued on the meeting with Hirsh.

Dipu Moni informed the French envoy of the legal status of the Grameen Bank and the rejection of both his writ petitions as well as the appeal filed by Muhammad Yunus with the high court and the appellate division respectively.

“She assured the envoy of the government’s firm conviction and commitment to upholding the rule of law and the independence of the judiciary,” the newspaper said.

Yunus was removed from the position of the managing director of the Grameen Bank March 2. A Bangladesh Bank letter issued that day said that the microcredit pioneer had been stripped of his position in line with the Grameen Bank Ordinance 1983.

Yunus along with the Grameen Bank won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2006 for making small loans available to poor entrepreneurs without collateral.

Bangladesh’s Supreme Court has, meanwhile, adjourned hearing two last-ditch petitions challenging Yunus’s removal from the bank he founded. The court will now hear the petitions May 2.