Tuesday, February 28, 2012

US to consider Yunus as WB boss: Mozena

The US ambassador to Bangladesh, Dan Mozena, has said that Washington will give its "fullest consideration" to the candidature of Muhammad Yunus for president of the World Bank.

"I am sure if he agrees to his nomination for this position, it would be given the fullest consideration," Mozina told journalists in the northern city of Rajshahi.

The US envoy's remarks came a week after the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, proposed that Yunus be made the chief the Washington-based bank that has never seen a non-American as its head since its birth after the Second World War.

Hasina floated the idea during a meeting with a delegation of European MPs in Dhaka on Feb 22.

"I know Grameen Bank very well. You may not know ... I lived in Bangladesh a decade ago. I lived here for three years, from 1998 to 2001. And during that time, I visited so many Grameen borrowers' groups," Mozena said.

"I saw with these very eyes ... these very eyes right here, the impact of Grameen Bank in helping the poorest of the poor and the most vulnerable of the vulnerable women take control of their lives. It's a beautiful sight.

"... I feel so inspired and I think of the work, of the vision of professor Muhammad Yunus as it was his idea."


Taking queries from journalists on the gruesome killing of journalist couple Sagar and Runi, the US envoy said, "I do not know if its related to the fact that they were journalists."

"If it were, then that is even more heinous, because I believe and my government believes, the media, the press is a fundamental element of democracy. There can't be democracy without free and vibrant media. And so if that attack was against the media, then it is even more horrific."

On Feb 11, Maasranga Television news editor Golam Mostofa Sarowar, alias Sagar Sarowar, and his wife ATN Bangla senior reporter Meherun Nahar Runi were found murdered at their rented flat in the city's west Rajabazar. Police are yet to arrest anyone or name any suspect.

On Sunday, the investigators said they are 'almost certain' about the motive behind the killing of the couple but would not disclose it for the sake of investigation.

"Police of Bangladesh, to my understanding, are actively investigating this case," Mozena said adding that the US government has a number of skills development programmes with Bangladesh police, knowledge from which he is 'sure' is being put to good use in the probe.

However, when asked specifically whether the US government is directly involved in the probe, the US envoy said, "We have not been asked for any support."