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P-TOMS fund: Britain having second thoughts

by Namini Wijedasa Courtesy The Island 09-07-2005

The British Government hasn’t yet decided whether it will contribute money towards the donor fund of the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS), said a spokesman for the British High Commission in Colombo.

"We haven’t made a decision yet," said John Culley. "The Department for International Development is still considering the matter."

Asked when the decision would be made, Culley said he didn’t want to place a timeline on it but expected it to be announced "fairly shortly".

Anti-terrorism laws in the UK strictly prohibit funding of terrorist organisations. The LTTE, a proscribed terrorist organisation in the UK, will be actively involved in administering the regional donor fund to be set up under P-TOMS. A member nominated by the LTTE will chair the regional committees while the government will only be deputy, functioning under the Tigers.

The United States embassy on Thursday told The Island that it would not be contributing towards the fund. A press release issued yesterday confirmed that legal restrictions precluded the US from channelling money to the fund but said it welcomed the participation of other donors.

"The US supports a mechanism, such as that outlined in the Post-Tsunami Operational Management Structure (P-TOMS), to coordinate the equitable and expeditious prioritisation, delivery and distribution of assistance to tsunami victims from all communities in the north and east," the US embassy statement read.

"We believe this mechanism, if properly implemented with the support and participation of all affected communities can help improve the lives of those affected by the December 26 tragedy. Because of legal restrictions, the US will not be contributing to the Trust Fund associated with the P-TOMS. We welcomed other donors’ participation in the fund."


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