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Agence France-Presse
Dhaka, May 08, 2012
A Bangladesh minister on Tuesday criticised US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for expressing support for microfinance pioneer Muhammad Yunus during her recent visit to the country.

Clinton on Sunday heaped praise on Nobel winner Yunus, who was removed last year from the helm of his globally-acclaimed Grameen Bank in a move widely seen as engineered by an envious government.

She described him as one of "my favourite men in the world" and said Grameen Bank's work giving small loans to the poor should not be undermined as it had helped millions of women.

"I think this comment is very unwarranted," finance minister AMA Muhith told reporters.

"Grameen Bank is a government institution. The government has created it and brought it thus far. It is because of the government that Mr. Yunus could come this far."

Bangladesh's central bank fired Yunus, 71, in March last year on the grounds that he had exceeded the mandatory retirement age of 60.

Supporters say the step was retaliation after Yunus had hinted at joining politics to break the political logjam in a country bitterly divided for decades between two rival parties.