Reconciliation pre-requisite to development, World Bank VP tells Sri Lanka

[TamilNet, Friday, 23 July 2010, 11:42 GMT]
World Bank Vice President for South Asia Isabel Guerrero who ended a three-day visit to Sri Lanka pledging support to Sri Lanka's transition to a middle income country at peace, has emphasized that reconciliation is a pre-requisite for development in Sri Lanka. During her visit to Sri Lanka, Guerrero called on Sri Lanka's President Mahinda Rajapaksa, and key officials of the Sri Lanka Government.

"Sri Lanka, emerging from three decade-long armed conflict, is at a critical juncture of transition to a middle income country in lasting peace. The World Bank is ready to support this transition through global knowledge sharing, policy dialogue and projects. In our meeting with the President Rajapaksa, we talked about the importance of his government’s commitment to securing a lasting peace through reconciliation,” said Guerrero.

Guerrero visited the recently rehabilitated Adampan Hospital which is now operating an Out Patients Service and the conflict affected village of Panakattukottu in Mannar. She commended the government on its effort to resettle IDPs and provide services, but also recognized the daunting challenges returnees are facing.

In Kilinochchi, she visited the Uruthirapuram village and met beneficiaries of the Cash for Work program. “I am encouraged to see that the Bank-funded Cash for Work program, co-financed by the government of Australia, has been supporting returnees with an immediate income and helping them rebuild much needed community infrastructure of their choice. I hope this program continues to help them until they are able to resume their livelihoods,” said Guerrero.

The Vice President also met with development partners, civil society and private sector, to share views on ways to support the country’s transition, how to address development challenges and realize the new emerging opportunities.

‘’The World Bank will align our assistance to support the transition, continuing to assist the conflict affected north and east. In doing so, we will work together with partners under the leadership of the government,’’ said Guerrero.

However, reluctance of the Sri Lanka Government to allow international investigations into war-crimes will continue to be an impediment to Sri Lanka's progress. "Until Sri Lanka establishes accountabilty to the alleged war-crimes, it will be continued to be compared with other rogue states such as Burma and Sudan," Tamil circles said.

 

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