Donors can't dictate dates to finalize aid deal- Kadirgamar

[TamilNet, Saturday, 07 May 2005, 05:47 GMT]
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister, Mr Lakshman Kadirgamar said after a meeting with donor community in Geneva Friday that President Chandrika Kumaratunga has been holding "intensive" talks with religious and political leaders ahead of a meeting with Liberation Tigers on May 15 th and 16th, and that Sri Lanka "could not accept any dictation by the donor community about dates," according to an AFP report.

Lakshman Kadirgamar (Photo: AFP)
Sri Lanka's Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar (Photo: AFP)
The report further quoted Mr Kadirgamar as saying "On the part of the president there is a very firm commitment this joint mechanism will be signed...I think it's very likely that, shortly, an agreement will be signed, but whether it will be signed before the 15th or 16th is another matter entirely."

He urged the aid agencies to "to conduct themselves in such a way as not to exacerbate sensitivities," and told the donors that Sri Lanka also wants to give NGOs control over the reconstruction projects they choose and manage with their money, following initial planning approval by authorities.

"The government will not be looking over their shoulder and micromanaging the project," the AFP report quoted Mr Kadirgamar as saying.

Colombo has been under pressure to reject the Joint Mechanism by extreme Sinhala nationalist parties, the Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) and Marxist Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP), a major constituent of the ruling United Peoples Freedom Alliance (UPFA) government.

Ultra Sinhala nationalist organization of Buddhist monks, National Bikkhu Front, said earlier that “The joint mechanism can be established only over our dead bodies”

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