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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 105

US opposes $2 billion IMF loan to Sri Lanka: LTTE global macro effect displayed

Daya Gamage – US National Correspondent Asian Tribune

Washington, D.C. 15 May ( United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton declared on Thursday, 14 May in Washington that until there is a resolution of the conflict this was not the appropriate time for Sri Lanka to receive the $1.9 billion International Monetary Fund loan

The U.S. which has more than 60% stakes in the IMF has almost sweeping powers in the IMF which most developing nations receive stand by loans.

On May 1 the UN Security Council refused to withhold $1.9bn funding to Sri Lanka, despite growing international pressure for the funds to be delayed. The LTTE global network was largely responsible for the pressure. Calls to withhold the funding were made to encourage the government in Colombo to do more to help civilians caught up in the fighting with the Tamil Tigers. The council's president, the Mexican ambassador Claude Heller, said all 15 members agreed that such a move, or other steps to punish Sri Lanka, was unnecessary, according to Reuters. It came after Colombo emphatically rejected British and French calls for a ceasefire in its military campaign against the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).

However, British Foreign Secretary Milliband met Secretary of State Clinton on May 1 to discuss the IMF loan to Sri Lanka.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday said "is not an appropriate time" to talk about IMF's $2 billion loan to Sri Lanka.

After Britain, the United States is the second country which appears to opposing the massive loan from the International Monetary Fund to Sri Lanka, which is currently under consideration.

"This is a very troubling humanitarian crisis, and we have been focused on it and trying to convince both sides to cease their hostilities. We have also raised questions about the IMF loan at this time," Ms. Clinton told State Department reporters Thursday in response to a question. "We think that it is not an appropriate time to consider that until there is a resolution of this conflict. And that's what we're focused on trying to help bring about," Ms. Clinton said.

She was addressing a joint press conference with visiting Malaysian Foreign Minister Y.B. Datuk Anifah bin Haji Aman.

Observing that the U.S. has been very clear in its statements — the most recent one by the President — that there needs to be a cessation of the hostilities and humanitarian relief to be provided to the people who are trapped in the fighting. "We've called on both sides to cease their hostilities. And we've asked that both sides permit humanitarian relief to be delivered, and at the very least, a high-level humanitarian mission to make an assessment of what relief is necessary," Ms. Clinton said.

The LTTE global network since March this year has mobilized expatriate Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in the United States, United Kingdom, Australia and other western nations to block the IMF from extending this $1.9 billion loan.

On March 21 a large group of expatriate Tamils staged a protest front of IMF in Washington, D.C. urging it to deny funds to Sri Lanka.

Deputy Division Chief of the IMF’s External Relations Department Jeremy Mark received a memorandum prepared by LTTE-sponsored Tamils Against Genocide. Mr. Mark listened to the protesters who alleged genocide of Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Previously there were two demonstrations urging the IMF to deny the loan.

The Tamil Tiger lobby has been active among U.S. Congressmen and State Department officials to bring pressure on the IMF to suspend the loan to Sri Lanka.

The global LTTE network has been able to convince the West policymakers and those who are influential with policymakers that Sri Lanka will use the $1.9 billion loan for military purposes and to perpetuate the suffering of the minority Tamils in Sri Lanka.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s Thursday statement opposing the $1.9 billion IMF loan to Sri Lanka was the culmination of the several months’ long global campaign to block IMF funds to Sri Lanka.

Despite the LTTE defeat in Sri Lanka, Asian Tribune always was convinced that this micro organization maintains a macro effect globally, and the IMF loan episode clearly manifest how the LTTE has positioned the Sri Lanka Tamil Diaspora to its advantage proving its superiority in overseas public diplomacy and strategic communication which the Government of Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry and its overseas diplomatic establishments are unable to match.

Eighteen months ago the U.S. Congress suspended a US$200 million Millennium Fund for Sri Lanka citing human rights situation. Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy was instrumental in blocking this grant to Sri Lanka.

During the same time Senator Leahy was instrumental in withdrawing military assistance to Sri Lanka.

Asian Tribune previously in several reports disclosed based on U.S. Congressional Budget Documents that the United States had slashed economic assistance to Sri Lanka since 2006.

A letter addressed by onetime Sri Lanka’s Attorney General Siva Pasupathy – a known legal counselor to the LTTE now domiciled in Australia – to the Treasurer of the Australian Parliament discloses the line of argument the Global network of the LTTE has developed to convince the Western nations to withdraw their cooperation and goodwill toward Sri Lanka.

Following is the letter written by Mr. Pasupathy arguing why the IMF loan should not be extended to Sri Lanka:

The Hon Wayne Swan MP
The Treasurer
Canberra ACT 2600

Dear Treasurer,

IMF Emergency Support Loan-US$ 1.9 billion

We have no doubt that your office would be aware of the application made by the Sri Lankan government to the IMF for the above loan. We understand that the loan is to cover the costs of immediate government functions and to pay for post-conflict resettlement.

Our organization, the AHRV, is a registered human rights organization, which seeks to give a voice to the voiceless when their human rights are violated. We understand that the question of whether the loan would achieve the intended objectives and also, whether the government observes the rule of law and complies with human rights, are relevant factors in the determination of an application to the IMF of a loan of this nature.

The US based Human Rights Watch (HRW) has already expressed its deep concern that the loan, which has been sought, will not achieve the intended objectives of the Sri Lankan government. The HRW states that the “plight of the internally displaced persons has been exacerbated by the Sri Lankan government’s decision in September 2008 to order most humanitarian agencies out of the Vanni. The government’s own efforts to bring in food, medical supplies, and other relief with a minimal role for the United Nations have been insufficient. Internally displaced persons who escape LTTE territory to what they hope is safety within government-controlled areas have been placed in "welfare centers" that are effectively detention camps”. In a recent report of 9 April 2009, the HRW said that the "Sri Lankan government should stop firing heavy artillery into the "no-fire zone" in the northern Vanni area where some 100,000 civilians are trapped by the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, causing skyrocketing casualties" and further said that the "so-called no-fire zone is now one of the most dangerous places in the world".

The US Secretary of State, Ms Hillary Clinton, told Sri Lanka’s President, by telephone that Washington was "deeply concerned about deteriorating conditions and increasing loss of life in government designated safe areas."

The UN High Commissioner of Human Rights, Ms Pillay, warned, "Certain actions undertaken by the Sri Lankan military and by the LTTE (Tigers) may constitute violations of international human rights and humanitarian law".

The 17th Amendment to the Constitution, which was passed in 2001, was to depoliticize senior appointments to the judiciary and the public service and to curtail the arbitrary power of the executive to appoint persons, who readily comply with even illegal executive directions. However, the failure of the government to comply with this law, has led to proceedings in the Supreme Court which has still not reached finality, mainly due to repeated applications for postponements by the government. The Centre for Policy Alternatives has stated that the "intentional subversion of the 17th Amendment to the Constitution poses a threat to the Rule of Law in Sri Lanka".

The Bandaranaike-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1957 and the Dudley Senanayake-Chelvanayakam Pact of 1965, constituted a solemn agreement for devolution of powers, between the Prime Minister at the time and the parliamentary leader of the party of the Tamils. Both pacts were later unilaterally abrogated by the government and never implemented. This was followed by a series of riots against the Tamils, non-violent civil disobedience and the demand for self-determination by the Tamils and ultimately to Tamil militancy. Even the present government established an All-Party Representative Committee, with a view to recommending a structure for devolution of powers. A majority report recommending such a structure was submitted to the government about two years ago. The only outcome was the explanation sought by the government from some of its nominees on the Committee as to why they signed the majority report. We have no doubt that this report too, like the two earlier pacts, has been consigned to the dustbin of history.

The New York-based Genocide Prevention Project has placed Sri Lanka among the eight "Red alert" countries, which included Afghanistan, Iraq, Sudan, Congo and Somalia, as currently experiencing genocidal conflict. In the light of the circumstances set out above, we would kindly request you, as a member of the Board of Governors of the IMF, not to approve the grant of the loan and to persuade other members to do likewise. I am also attaching printouts, from which I have reproduced or referred to, some of their contents in the body of this letter.

Yours sincerely
(Shiva Pasupati)
President, AHRV & Formerly, Attorney General of Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka needs to develop a more cogent overseas public diplomacy campaign and strategic communication to negate the arguments the global network of the LTTE is engaged in to avoid a situation that it faced with the declaration Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made discouraging the IMF extending the $1.9 billion.

- Asian Tribune -

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