Concerns and noise raised by various sections including the JVP led to the postponement of last week`s scheduled visit to Kilinochchi by the heads of financial lending agencies operating in Sri Lanka, the heads of the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank in Sri Lanka said yesterday.
The heads of four major lending agencies were to meet the LTTE`s political chief S.P. Thamilselvan in Kilinochchi last week to discuss development programmme in rebel controlled areas of the north and east.
However the meeting was postponed at the eleventh hour following severe opposition in Colombo including a verbal threat issued by the JVP propaganda secretary Wimal Weerawanse who said the government would face serious consequences if the Kilinochchi meeting took place.
Addressing a joint news conference in Colombo yesterday World Bank country head Peter Harold and ADB`s permanent representative Alassandro Pio said they collectively decided after talks with the government that it was in the best interest of the Geneva talks that the visit to Kilinochchi was postponed. Asked if JVP pressure was the main reason for the postponement Mr. Harold said it was just one of many concerns raised.
Mr. Harold meanwhile said he did not believe the postponement would have a negative impact on the upcoming talks in Geneva this month.
He said it was heartening to read a report in the local press quoting the rebel spokesman as saying the LTTE was committed to taking part in the Geneva talks.
?Some people have the wrong impression of us. They think we can wave a magic wand and get the LTTE to do what we want. It is difficult to say in the event our visit went ahead if it would have been positive or negative. But we did not want anything coming in the way of the Geneva talks by us going to Kilinochchi and that is why we postponed it,? Mr. Harold said.
Meanwhile the WB and ADB heads noted that the present security situation in the east was a setback for the pace of development work funded by the two lending agencies. They emphasised that the upcoming Geneva talks would be vital in creating a more conducive environment for the development of the country.