Sri Lanka leader takes aim at international lenders

October 15, 2009 (AFP) – Sri Lanka’s president on Thursday accused international financial institutions of placing too heavy a burden on developing nations by demanding they slash subsidies in exchange for help. President Mahinda Rajapakse told a meeting of the 31-member Asian Cooperation Dialogue in Colombo that elimination of poverty in developing nations “should not be held ransom to such conditions”.

“International financial institutions that play an increasing role in our region should be more concerned about the burdens they impose through conditions for assistance,” the president said.

Sri Lanka won a 2.6-billion-dollar bailout from the Washington-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) in July.

Rajapakse did not directly refer to the IMF loan, but said international lenders wanted developing countries to slash subsidies while developed nations continued to maintain subsidies.

Rajapakse’s government has denied opposition charges that the IMF money was granted to Sri Lanka subject to tough conditions that it slash subsidies and reduce state spending.

“These institutions should recognise the many disadvantages caused by subsidies implemented by the advanced economies, while