No direct aid to LTTE, says World Bank
The World Bank has reassured it would not be providing direct funding to the LTTE, despite speculation that it was preparing to implement its proposed development programmes in the uncleared areas with the LTTE.

A spokesman for the World Bank office in Colombo told The Sunday Times they would remain with the original position that all funding would be channeled through the Central government.

The controversy came after World Bank country director Peter Harrold this week visited the LTTE in the north and handed over a Tamil translation of the Country Assistance Strategy which covers projects to be introduced in the northern and eastern provinces, including the uncleared areas.

Following the meeting, the LTTE's peace secretariat in a statement said that discussions took place between Mr. Harrold and LTTE Political Wing leader S.P.Thamilselvan on removing 'impediments in the delivery of humanitarian assistance in the absence of the right mechanism'.

Mr. Tamilselvan had pointed out that the delay on the part of the government to resume negotiations on the basis of the ISGA proposals was seriously viewed by the Tamil people who had been denied the dividends of peace, the report said.

The statement quoted Mr. Harrold as telling Mr. Thamilselvan that the World Bank was aware of the necessity of institutionalising the ISGA. But, on arrival in Colombo the World Bank in a statement said Mr. Harrold had referred to the Tokyo declaration which stated that 'assistance by the donor community would be closely linked to substantial and parallel progress in the peace process'.

The World Bank Colombo office will this week also be writing to the National Patriotic Movement, spelling out its position about the funding and clearing doubts of the World Bank allocating any funds to the LTTE.

The NPM had written to Mr. Harrold that it was worried that the 2004 development plan including the continuation of the humanitarian aid was handed over by him to the LTTE political wing leader.

The NPM said the "World Bank is a lending organization recognized throughout the world. It often deals with sovereign states. Never before have we heard about the World Bank extending financial aid to a terrorist organization anywhere in the world or officially presenting its reports to such organizations. As the ban on the LTTE was lifted by the previous UNP government it is true that it is now not an officially proscribed organization in Sri Lanka.”

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