British debt relief to Sri Lanka held back over human rights and defence spending

Feb 18 (LBO) – Millions of pounds worth debt-relief to Sri Lanka is hanging in the balance with Britain saying that queries have been raised over human rights, rising defence spending and ongoing hostilities. The British move comes within months of Germany halting new aid to the country.

In 2005, Britain has agreed to pay 41 million sterling pounds or nine billion rupees to Sri Lanka from 2005-2015, in annual instalments of four million sterling pounds or 88 million rupees the British High Commission said Sunday.

The debt relief came as part of a multilateral tsunami-debt relief imitative, to be used for post-tsunami recovery and poverty reduction.

“The two governments agreed a number of conditions against which these yearly instalments would be made,” the High Commission said in a statement.

“These conditions relate to human rights, hostilities, defence spending and accountability systems.

“As part of the process leading to the release of the next instalment of debt relief, the British Secretary of State for International Development wrote last week to the Sri Lankan government to seek clarification that these conditions were still being met.”

The statement came after Sri La