Daily Archives: August 31, 2006
The conservative Washington Times in its second editorial titled Nabbing Tigers within a week, hailed the arrests of LTTE cadres based in the US and Canada as an essential crackdown to bring the terrorists back to a negotiating table.
The August 25 editorial
The arrests in the past week of supporters of Sri Lanka’s Tamil Tigers is the kind of crackdown needed to bring the separatist rebels back to the negotiating table. Any meaningful cease-fire negotiations in Sri Lanka are predicated on cutting off the influx of money and weapons to the Tigers, forcing talks in order to forge a lasting resolution and not simply to rearm themselves during the break in fighting.
The arrested Tiger supporters tried to purchase AK-47 rifles and shoulder-launched surface-to-air missiles, according to a complaint that was unsealed recently in U.S. District Court in Brooklyn. The United States officially declared the Tamil Tigers a terrorist organization in 1997, making it illegal for the rebel group to raise money in the United States. The separatist group still does, however, and sources of funding from Tamil sympathizers abroad, particularly in the West, allows the group to continue fighting in Sri Lanka. Tiger sympathizers also work the public-relations angle, playing up legitimate grievances of the Tamil people in Sri Lanka while downplaying the heinous methods — the often-forceful recruiting of women and children and the use of suicide bombers – that the Tigers employ. This was the first time that Tiger supporters were arrested for trying to purchase weapons in North America – a disconcerting development that some analysts have interpreted as a move to a more operational role for the Tigers supporters in the West.
The Tigers have an active and well-polished propaganda machine, but it should stumble when confronted with court documents that note that the suspects speculated about the number of deaths that could be inflicted by the weapons, and laughed.
The image of the Tigers abroad was dealt a solid blow this year when Canada and the European Union passed stiff bans on the group. Tiger sympathizers are clearly interested in rehabilitating the group’s image: also in court were supporters charged with attempting to bribe agents working undercover as State Department officials to get the Tigers taken off of the terrorist list.
The conflict between the Sri Lankan government and the separatists is regional, but the Tigers’ network of finance and support is international. Targeting that network, as the recent arrests show that the United States, Canada and Britain have, may be the only way to bring a cease-fire to the war-weary island .-The Island
ADB suspends power sector engagement; Bottlenecks identified in contractor performance; Community level desire reason for progress in NE projects
By Sunimalee Dias
A top donor agency yesterday asserted the need for increased coordination while expressing concerns regarding the situation in the North and East.
A high level mission headed by ADB’s Director General for South Asia Kunio Senga identified nearly US$71 million of ADB projects to be immediately cancelled or reallocated, to improve the ADB portfolio after conducting intense deliberations with the government in arriving at concrete measures to improve the ADB’s portfolio.
The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) South Asia Regional Management team for the Special Portfolio Review Mission for Sri Lanka held meetings with government officials during their visit.
In his opening address Senga highlighted their concerns about the recent intensification in the conflict which he said was an obstaile to implement projects and it was difficult to prepare for new ones with regard to ADB’s assistance in the North and East.
“With the decisions made during this mission, US$41 million of our concessional funds have been reallocated, primarily to cover the requirements of the expansion of water supply and sanitation systems in Polonnaruwa, Mutur, Batticaloa, and Hambantota.ADB’s active portfolio in Sri Lanka stands at 51 loans and grants totaling U$1.6 billion.
It was pointed out that during their meetings with the government they had agreed on actions to facilitate implementation of projects, such as reviews of contractor’s performance and increasing adoption of procedures by the government.
Senga observed that certain bottlenecks were identified as well in terms of how to rectify ongoing programmes as the contractors’ performance need be improved thereby helping them to operate better with clearance among other pressing issues.
Lack of communication and coordination between the government agencies and the ADB was identified, he said.
The ADB delegation noted that they were indeed disappointed about the progress but stated that they would remain flexible in a bid to allow the government to carry out its internal discussions following which they would be awaiting some proposal to be put forward once the formulation of the national economic strategy was in place.
In response to questions concerning the development efforts in the North and East, the head of delegation said that as far as new proposals were concerned they were able to fully initiate the process as it was observed that the feel of the local community was required to understand the situation in these areas.
“The desire is in the hands of the people ….so despite the difficult situation progress would be made” while making sure security would be assured to them, Senga said.
However, ADB Country Director Alessandro Pio observed that there was a risk involved and noted that some assets might be directly affected as a result of the current situation there.
Identifying the Sri Lanka regional portfolio as being “slightly above average” he said, “We’d like to see further enhancement.”
Meanwhile yesterday Treasury Secretary Dr. P.B. Jayasundere charged that it was the change of governments and policies since the 1980s that contributed to the long held delay in the commencement of various projects.
Projects could not be implemented due to this legacy since the 1980s this has been affected, he told journalists.
He was replying to a question based on the delay in carrying out restructuring in the power sector.
In the case of the power sector, Dr. Jayasundere pointed out that the significant cancellation of US$30 million second tranche was carried out since it had expired.
He noted that distribution and transmission issues had to be addressed in a bid to ensure that the power sector changes could be effected.
However, prior to these it was essential to have a reliable supply of electricity, the treasury secretary noted.
Dr. Jayasundere commenting on the ADB portfolio said that each loan and grant have been examined in order to improve on them further which were reviewed in consultation with the line ministries.
A request for a fully-fledged delegation to ensure that projects identified would be “manageable” while protecting the trust of these projects; re-orientation of these projects as well, he said.
Commercial funds for credit line and support to power sector reform amounting to around US$34 have been cancelled.
*Southern Transport Development Project (STDP) from Colombo to Matara with a length of 128km for completion by 2010.
*Tsunami reconstruction and rehabilitation amounting to US$157 million
*Northeast community restoration programme at US$10.96 apporved.
*Southern reconstruction programme total US19 million
*Southern coastal resource development
*Northeast coastal community development
*All affected districts’ end borrowers benefited from rural finance from Rs.749, 708,155 disbursed. Credit line movement in the Northeast has been slowed due to uncertainty.
*Legal assistance and governance
*Income generating opportunities for the poor provided from US$2 million grant from ADB’s Japan Fund for Poverty Reduction (JFPR)
Via… Daily Mirror