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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2490

World Bank pledges continuous support to Sri Lankan peace process

By Munza Mushtaq – Reporting from Colombo for Asian Tribune

Colombo, 20 May, (Asiantribune.com): The World Bank (WB) has pledged its continuous support to the Sri Lankan peace process, the country's enhanced economic growth, and the harnessing of community empowerment and local initiative for poverty reduction. This was intimated to President Mahinda Rajapakse and the Government's chief peace negotiator Nimal Siripala de Silva by Praful Patel, Regional Vice President of the World Bank for South Asia at a meeting this week.

Patel, who ended a three-day visit to the country yesterday emphasized that the Bank's interest in Sri Lanka achieving peace was not political but rather a relationship to the prospects for sustainable development and poverty reduction

The top WB official is also reported to have been 'very encouraged' by the Sri Lankan Government's and President Rajapakse's clear belief that war was not an option and negotiations was the only way for a settlement to the two decade long ethnic conflict plaguing the country.

During Patel's meeting with President Rajapakse, the President had stressed upon ways the Bank could help Sri Lanka's peace initiatives.

Mr. Rajapakse had suggested that the World Bank could support the peace process as a development partner, in addition to ensuring the continued implementation of ongoing operations in the areas of housing and community development. The President proposed fast tracking the construction of a North-South Highway, a connecting corridor that could demonstrate what can be accomplished in conflict affected areas, and a stimulus to development activities in these areas.

President Rajapakse also expressed hope that the World Bank could join with other partners to make this vision a reality, to which Mr. Patel indicated that this was a very attractive idea, which had parallels in efforts under way in other parts of the Region.

- Asian Tribune -

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