Joint Mechanism concerns linger as Donor Group readies for Kandy meet

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 11 May 2005, 17:51 GMT]
Sri Lanka Development Forum (SLDF), the aid review meeting where multilateral lenders and officials Sri Lanka Government meet to firm up on aid pledges, "will focus on the post-tsunami recovery and reconstruction process and the overall method and development strategies of Sri Lanka," said Dr.Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Finance and Planning in the invitation to participants to the Forum. Leaders of political parties represented in parliament have also been invited for the inaugural session, which is to be held on May 16 from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Bilateral aid donors are pressuring Colombo to work with Liberation Tigers on establishing a joint mechanism to qualify for aid and multilateral donors are pressing for economic reform before they agree to any financial aid. Buffetted by opposition from her marxist-coalition partner Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) to privatizaion and for any aid deal with the Tigers (LTTE), Ms Kumaratunge is seeking ways to allay donors'concerns and to extract a favourable aid response from the meet.

The agenda for the two-day meeting of the SLDF was released by the Ministry of Finance and Planning Tuesday.

Sri Lanka's President Ms Chandrika Kumaratunge will inaugurate the SLDF at Kandy Earl's Regency Hotel following two minutes' silence to remember the tsunami victims.

Mr.Praful Patel, World bank Vice President will address the meeting on behalf of development partners before the inaugural speech.

Dr.Sarath Amunugama who is also the Chairman of the Sri Lanka Development Forum will deliver the welcome address, sources said.

Session One will commence after the inaugural event on the topic "Post tsunami recovery process "with Video presentation by Information and Media Ministry with Dr.Sarath Amunugama and Minister Mr.Nimal Sripala de Silva in the chair. Mr.Erskine Bowles, Deputy UN Special Envoy for tsunami relief will be the Deputy Chair.

Dr Ms Tara de Mel, Chairperson of the Centre for National Operation will speak on the Immediate Post-Tsunami Recovery Phase-Results and Challenges.

Mr.Harim Peiris, Director General of the Ministry of Relief, Rehabilitation and Reconciliation will deliver a speech on the Immediate Post-Tsunami Recovery Phase- Co-ordination with the North East.

Mr.Tilak Ranaviraja, Chairman of Task Force for relief will speak on Transitional Issues, Mr.Miguel Bermeo, UNDP Resident Representative in Sri Lanka on Assessment and Emerging Issues, Mr.Jevan Thiagarajah, Director General of Consortium of Humanitarian Agencies on the Role of the NGOs and Challenges.

Ministers Messrs Anura Bandaranaike, Dinesh Gunawardene, Tissa Vitharana and Chandrasena Wijesinghe will chair the second session of the first day with Mr.Kunio Senga, ADB Director General, South Asian department Deputy Chair.

Second day closing session of the SLDF will be presided by Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar, Foreign Minister and Dr.Sarath Amunugama, Minister of Finance and Planning. Deputy Chairpersons are Mr.Praful Patel and Miguel Bermeo.

Dr.Jayantha Dhanapala, Director General of the Government Peace Secretariat will deliver on the topic " An Update of the Peace process and the Way Forward".

Mr.Yasushi Akashi, Japanese Special Envoy will present his views. Minister Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar will deliver the concluding statement, sources said.


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