Continuing violence slowing down aid projects: World Bank

May 19, 2006 (LBO) – An upsurge in violence in the north east part of Sri Lanka could slow down progress post-conflict development projects, a top World Bank official said Friday. The bank, which lends around 80-100 million dollars to Sri Lanka each year, has a few medium-term projects in the north east.

“We are extremely concerned by the number of deaths in the past three months as a result of the violence,” the bank’s regional vice president for South Asia, Praful Patel told journalists.

More than 200 people died last month – the bloodiest in four years – since the government and the Tamil Tiger rebels resort to tit-for-tat attacks.

Growing violence has put February 2002 ceasefire in force only on paper with the government seeking international support to force the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Ealam or LTTE back to the negotiating table.

Patel says the threat of a return to war, has not curbed the bank’s lending programmes so far.

“If the security situation deteriorates, we will be forced to re-look at our development projects in the north and east,” he said.

The bank has around 200 million dollars worth of development projects in the volatile no