World Bank approves $24 million credit to Colombo; Colombo assures India on resettling IDP’s within 180 days, as was promised by President Rajapaksa
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  • Reports noted that the World Bank has approved a $24 million credit to Sri Lanka to meet the health needs of the internally-displaced people. The money would be directed towards alleviating the plight of the people in the North and the East and would help finance projects like mobile clinics at IDP camps and assist in rehabilitation of the disabled persons1.

    Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa meanwhile assured EAM Krishna during a visit to New Delhi that Colombo will resettle the IDP’s within 180 days, as was promised by President Rajapaksa earlier2. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa and the President’s Secretary Lalith Weeratunga were the other members of the delegation, who also met with NSA M.K. Narayanan, Foreign Secretary Menon and Defence Secretary Vijay Singh. The delegation apprised the Indian officials about the current situation regarding the resettlement of the IDPs.

    In domestic developments, Mass Media, Information and Enterprise Development Minister Anura Priyadharshana Yapa stated that President Rajapakse, who heads the United People’s Freedom Alliance (UPFA), had no intention of staying in power beyond the terms mandated by the constitution. While acknowledging that there was a popular support for Mr. Rajapaksa to continue for a further period uncontested, the Minister emphasized that the wish of the President was to seek re-election following democratic norms. The Minister noted that the President can call for fresh elections after November 19, 2009 or after the first term is completed in 20113.

    Reports also indicated that while the UNP fully backed the 13th Amendment, the JHU and the Jathika Nidahas Peramuna have expressed reservations on the provisions of the Amendment which sought to devolve power on police and land related matters to the Provincial Councils4.