Foreign donors dangle cash carrot to push peace in Sri Lanka

An increased foreign aid offer of three billion dollars for Sri Lanka’s tsunami recovery is mainly aimed at pushing Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels to salvage their peace talks, diplomats said Wednesday. An increased foreign aid offer of three billion dollars for Sri Lanka’s tsunami recovery is mainly aimed at pushing Colombo and Tamil Tiger rebels to salvage their peace talks, diplomats said Wednesday. Delegates who wrapped up a two-day review of international assistance to the embattled island nation nudged the government of President Chandrika Kumaratunga to work with the rebels, diplomats at the meeting said.

“The message from the donors is very loud and clear: money is not a problem, but get the peace process back on track,” a Western diplomat said. “We also want to see how the government will spend the money.”

Sri Lanka’s Finance Minister Sarath Amunugama said there were no conditions set by the donors, who raised their tsunami aid pledges to more than three billion dollars, but that the government was also aware of the need for peace.

“Unless we go on the path of negotiations, many of these pledges and funding will not materialise,” Amunugama told reporters shortly after the meetin