U.S. behind move to stop IMF loan - French Ambassador

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 29 April 2009, 12:17 GMT]
When Inner City Press asked French Ambassador to UN, Jean-Maurice Ripert on the European Union's leverage over Sri Lanka on the "pending request for $1.9b loan from the IMF," the Ambassador replied, "[t]he Americans want to play with the question of the IMF loan....[US's] commitment is to get the [loan] commitment to stop." Meanwhile, Bruce Fein, counsel for a Tamil activist group that filed for a declarative judgment to block the US vote, said that he expects the US Treasury to respond to the law suit before a vote is taken, and the Treasury has not submitted a motion or answer to the law suit yet.

Jean-Maurice Ripert, French Ambassador to UN
Jean-Maurice Ripert, French Ambassador to UN
The French Ambassador's statement on the status of the IMF loan comes amidst reports from Colombo saying that Sri Lanka's IMF loan request rapidly moving towards agreement and that the "loan would be available for Sri Lanka between the first and second weeks of May," sources in UK and US indicate.

While the Colombo-IMF talks are a second tier process, the final stage of loan approval depends on the "votes" of IMF Executive Directors, an IMF official said in a meeting recently with a Tamil expatriate group.

The Executive Directors' votes are governed by the local laws of respective countries they are representing, and currently both Executive Director for the United States, Meg Lundsager, and Executive Director for the United Kingdom, Alex Gibbs, are facing legal action blocking their votes to Sri Lanka loan.

US court action asserts that US is "obliged by statute, 22 U.S.C. 262d, to vote against any loan application submitted by a member country with a pattern of gross violations of internationally recognized human rights."

The suit adds, "Plaintiff reasonably apprehends that Defendants might for non-statutory reasons decide not to oppose Sri Lanka’s request for a $1.9 billion balance of payments IMF loan in violation of section 262d. If Plaintiff waited to sue Defendants for allegedly violating section 262d in failing to oppose Sri Lanka’s $1.9 billion IMF loan application until after the loan had been granted, there would then be no practical legal remedy for the violation," the Complaint notes.

In the UK, the "letter before action" sent by Public Interest Lawyers, attorneys retained by a UK-based Tamil activist group, asks the UK government to set out in clear detailed terms, supported by evidence of the actions taken, exactly how it purports it has met and will continue to meet all of its obligations imposed by international law arising from the situation in Sri Lanka.

Amongst other things, the letter seeks, "[a]n immediate, clear and unequivocal declaration that the UK government will vote against the proposed $1.9 billion IMF emergency support loan to the Sri Lankan government. To agree to an IMF loan when the Sri Lankan Government is perpetrating gross violations of humanitarian and human rights law would be a flagrant breach of the UK’s international obligations.


Related Articles:
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External Links:
ICP: On Sri Lanka, France Pitches Hospital Not IMF or Genocide


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