Former US president Clinton to skip Sri Lanka aid meet

Former US president Bill Clinton will not attend a key Sri Lankan foreign aid review this month as scheduled, but will be represented by his deputy, government officials here said Tuesday. Former US president Bill Clinton will not attend a key Sri Lankan foreign aid review this month as scheduled, but will be represented by his deputy, government officials here said Tuesday. The Sri Lankan government announced last month that Clinton would attend the three-day Sri Lanka Development Forum starting on March 15.

However officials said Tuesday they had been told he would not be here for the meeting and would instead be represented by his deputy Erskine Bowles.

Colombo is to firm up pledges from foreign donors at the forum. It is banking on nearly two billion dollars in foreign aid to rebuild its infrastructure damaged by the December 26 tsunamis that killed nearly 31,000 people in Sri Lanka.

Clinton and former US president George Bush visited the island in February as envoys of President George W. Bush to witness the destruction caused by the tsunamis, which also initially left a million homeless. – AFP