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On Sri Lanka, IMF Says Its Pending Loan Would "Support Government Policy Goals," To Wait and See

Byline: Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN: News Analysis

WASHINGTON, March 12 -- As conflict rages in Northern Sri Lanka, with not only the Tamil Tigers but also the government forces killing civilians at a pace that has triggered two calls for a cessation of fighting by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, the International Monetary Fund is in the final stages of negotiating a $1.9 billion loan to Sri Lanka. Asked Thursday what restrictions the IMF might place on the loan IMF spokesman David Hawley said the loan funds would be used for "the government's policy goals."

  Inner City Press asked a follow-up on possible conditions or safeguards, specifically with regard to the military action in Northern Sri Lanka. Mr. Hawley referred to the note he had just read out, saying that the loan is still under negotiation and to wait and see what conditions there might be.

  The IMF briefing, held in basement auditorium of the Fund's headquarters a few blocks from the White House where Ban Ki-moon met with U.S. President Barack Obama on March 12, was sparsely attended and lasted less than 20 minutes.  After passing through security and waiting for an escort, Inner City Press arrived just as Mr. Hawley was about to close the briefing. He took Sri Lanka as the last question. Some said it must be a busy news day, that few questions were submitted online to the briefing. (Inner City Press has in the past sought to submit questions from the UN in New York via the IMF's web site and has watched online as it was said, "There are no more questions.") The IMF's own lack of funds would seem to trigger at least a half hour of questions and answers.

IMF's Managing Director at UN, with Alpha Oumar Konare on MDGs, Sri Lanka conditions not shown

   During the visit of Ban and his entourage to Washington, the word Sri Lanka did not arise even once, chief UN Peacekeeper Alain Le Roy told Inner City Press on Wednesday in the Rayburn House Office Building. This despite Ban Ki-moon have twice called for a cessation of fighting, and his Spokesperson's Office's claim that he has made the humanitarian crisis in Sri Lanka a priority.

  The IMF Spokesman said to wait and see about conditions on the Fund's loan to Sri Lanka. Sources say while these conditions may involve not using the Fund's funds to support the Sri Lankan rupee, what others in the UN system are calling a humanitarian catastrophe, including government-created and -funded detention camps for those fleeing the conflict zone, is not even on the IMF's radar.  We'll see -- watch this site.

Click here for Inner City Press' Feb 26 UN debate

Click here for Feb. 12 debate on Sri Lanka

Click here for Inner City Press' Jan. 16, 2009 debate about Gaza

Click here for Inner City Press' review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate

Click here for Inner City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger

Click here from Inner City Press' December 12 debate on UN double standards

Click here for Inner City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics

Click here for Inner City Press Nov. 7 debate on the war in Congo

Watch this site, and this Oct. 2 debate, on UN, bailout, MDGs

and this October 17 debate, on Security Council and Obama and the UN.

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These reports are usually also available through Google News and on Lexis-Nexis.

Click here for a Reuters AlertNet piece by this correspondent about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click here for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali National Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an undefined trust fund.  Video Analysis here

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