MANILA, PHILIPPINES (7 March 2003) - The President of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), Mr. Tadao Chino, reaffirmed ADB's commitment to supporting the peace process with rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance, during a meeting with representatives of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in Kilinochchi, northern Sri Lanka.
Mr. Chino, who met with Mr. S. Tamilchelvan and other members of the LTTE's political wing, said he was impressed with the progress made in the peace talks since the ceasefire agreement between the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE a year ago. "We believe a lot has been done and are encouraged by the achievements that have been made so far," he said. "We realize there are challenging issues which need to be resolved and we will do what we can to continue and enhance our support for this process."
He stressed the importance of putting an end to the conflict which had caused much devastation to the country, particularly in the north and east. International support will be essential for the large reconstruction program needed in these regions, he said. ADB, along with other funding bodies, is preparing a needs assessment for a major donor conference in Tokyo to address the reconstruction needs of Sri Lanka in June.
Mr. Chino said the success of the conference will depend on the level of commitment of the parties concerned in the peace process and how the international community perceives the process. "ADB and Sri Lanka's development partners, many of whom are ADB shareholders, need to be assured that all the people of Sri Lanka can enjoy the benefits of peace," he said.
ADB projects are already underway in the North and East. ADB supports the North East Community Restoration and Development Project (NECORD) with a loan of US$25 million. The project covers a range of complementary activities in all eight districts in the North and East to help the people in these conflict-affected areas rebuild their lives. The activities include access to shelter, education, health, other basic services, and livelihood.
Countrywide, ADB's program of assistance to Sri Lanka was nearly US$240 million in 2002. This program supports development projects throughout the country in such critical sectors as education, energy, public sector resource management, and transport.
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