Sri Lanka, IMF Calls War Crimes Report Of Concern,
Tranche Turns on Budget?
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 20 -- Asked about Sri Lanka, IMF spokesperson Caroline
Atkinson on May 20 said, "on the war crimes report, yes of
course we're aware of that, and that's something that's of concern
Inner City Press had asked about the IMF's
current visit to northern Sri Lanka, the status of the delayed third
tranche of the IMF program, and this week's International Crisis
Group report on war crimes.
predictions that the third tranche will not be
disbursed any time soon due to the policies of the Rajapaksa
government, Ms. Atkinson on Thursday deferred answering, stating that
"we have a mission in the field and that will conclude soon...
by the end of the week so that means probably tomorrow."
said a press release would issue. But one wonders if the IMF will
seek as it has in the past to limit questions and answers to friendly
reporters. We'll see.
travel to the North," Ms. Atkinson said, was "part of our
usual practice of we go outside of the capital and meet with regular
people." One wonders if the IMF met any of the people still in
the IDP and "transit" camps.
IMF's DSK and Ms. Atkinson, ICG report on war
crimes in Sri Lanka not shown
From press reports, the
meetings were with government officials like "the
Governor of Northern Province, G.A. Chandrasiri and the Government
Agent/District Secretary for Jaffna K.Ganesh," who gave the IMF
cost estimate of funds they want for the controversial camps.
If the IMF has in fact read the ICG report, it
will note the
call for an international investigation of the UN's support for
"internment camps." Watch this site.
* * *
Consumed in Greek Fire, Dodges on Romania, Pakistan, Sri
Lanka and Rwanda
Matthew Russell Lee
NATIONS, May 6 -- With the International Monetary Fund's deal with
the Greek government being followed, so far, by five deaths in
protests, the IMF's fortnightly press briefing on Thursday not
surprisingly focused on Greece. IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson
emphasized that the austerity moves were the decision of the
government, not the IMF. She promised a press availability by
Dominique Strauss-Kahn after the IMF board's meeting on Sunday, on
which phasing of the Fund's second largest program ever will be
decided and announced.
questions were asked was met with surprise, and Ms. Atkinson answered
few of them. Inner City Press submitted four questions, only two of
which were allowed. Neither question was answered.
Pakistan, was Greece related in that experts have predicted violent
reactions. Inner City Press submitted this question:
tie-in: In Pakistan, experts say that the govt has not prepared the
public for the value added tax, that "the taxpayers... could
resort to agitation and may even close down markets." What does
the IMF say about VAT, the government's preparing of the people for
it, and possibility of more IMF related violence?"
with an added
Greek tie-in, to try to get an answer, Inner City Press submitted
this, which was read out:
to Greece if you are requiring that: in Romania, is IMF prepared to
lift the country's budget deficit cap? How is the IMF's approach to
Romania impacted by events in Greece?"
Atkinson said that since there are negotiations -- in fact, the IMF
mission is staying two extra days -- she would not comment. Then,
generically, she said that IMF decisions are always impacted by other
events, as well as being country specific. But of course!
Sri Lanka, Inner
City Press asked "is the IMF waiting for the so called mini
budget for the rest of 2010 before considering the next tranche, and
what does the IMF res rep [Koshy Mathai] mean by 'cutting inefficient
important for the IMF to spell out or define this last, but Ms.
Atkinson did not. Perhaps some later written response will arrive.
One was promised to the last of the questions which Inner City Press
submitted, which for some reason was mediated or edited by IMF staff.
Greece on fire, IMF not shown
there is another question coming through, although I will have to
answer it afterwards. Without attribution, she read out "On
Rwanda, what is the status of the IMF's consideration of a Policy
Support Instrument?" She then said that she did not know.
Kigali, IMF resident representative Dmitry Gershenson was quoted two
days ago as having agreed to the PSI. And in Sri Lanka, res rep Koshi
Mathai's statements remain unexplained.
come back to
Romania, the question Ms. Aktinson read out but would not answer,
Reuters has already quoted sources that the deficit budget cap will
be lifted. While the details may have to be worked out, wouldn't it
seem important, including to "support, or I mean fight,
contagion," to make clear that the IMF is at least temporarily
showing flexibility to Greece's neighbors? Watch this site.