Posted on July 26th, 2009

By Walter Jayawardhana

Britain together with her allies, USA, Germany, Argentine and France declined to vote for the loan for Sri Lanka when it was taken up at the executive Board meeting of the International Monetary Fund yesterday.

Many believe, the attitude of Britain and her allies was a reflection similar somewhat to their attitude to the Commonwealth nation when Sri Lanka’s former imperial ruler ganged up with her European or white allies at the human rights council at the United Nations in Geneva, few months ago unsuccessfully.

But 70 percent, which consists of the rest of the member nations of the executive board supported the Sri Lankan loan purely considering it on economic factors unlike Britain and her allies who put a political agenda before the justifiable economic arguments. This has been recognized as an unprecedented attitude by any country regarding an IMF loan. Regarding this particular proposal, it has been reported, that the international lending institution was fully satisfied with long before yesterday, and the attitude of the West was quite extra ordinary, creating ominous precedents of neo-imperialism.

Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF managing director, had said last week that the lender had agreed preliminary terms with the Sri Lankan Government after four months of talks. The $2.6 billion agreed is about $600 million more than Sri Lanka originally asked for, he said.

When the final release of the money came it had been obstructed many times. Britain and USA, in May twisted the arm of Sri Lanka using the same loan as a leverage an attempt to impose a ceasefire which the terrorist group, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)was seeking. On the verge of defeat, it was exactly what the LTTE who were engaged in a separatist war for thirty years wanted to prolong the agonies of Sri Lanka. If agreed, the ominous British proposed ceasefire would have prolonged the war for another thirty years. But thanks to President Rajapaksa, he boldly said, “ƒ”¹…”no’ causing the IMF loan to delay. Following the elimination of the LTTE leadership by the Sri Lankan armed forces, it was immediately possible to develop the war torn Northern and Eastern provinces, going contrary to London’s thinking.

On the eve of the board meeting Reuter said, “The British Government still believes the loan should not be approved, a stance that British officials said is unprecedented because it indicates that humanitarian concerns should be taken into account by the IMF, which has traditionally only factored in economic arguments.” When Britain had no other friends to support it had to abstain with her four allies

The humanitarian case Britain has put forward and referred here is one made up of cooked up figures and published in British newspapers, given to them in handouts. Unfortunately, the hand-out sob stories have been written by government fiction writers and not by true statisticians or academics.

The loan proposal was put forward by Dr.Anup Kishore of India, a respected economist, at the IMF executive board meeting.

The member nations appreciated Sri Lankan plans to take development from the big cities to the remote villages. The government’s Gama Neguma Ran Dora and Maga Neguma also won their appreciation. The government’s employment plans came to their attention and there was no problem in approving the loan.

As Anura Priyadarshana Yapa, minister of enterprise development and investment promotion, said there is not a better time to grant this loan when Sri Lanka has eliminated all the terrorists and the war ravaged areas are open for full fledged development.

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