'Significant progress achieved in peace talks' -World Bank official

[TamilNet, Thursday, 12 December 2002, 13:49 GMT]
The World Bank and the North East Provincial Council in Sri Lanka Thursday signed an agreement for the immediate implementation of the North East Emergency Reconstruction Programme (NEERP) at a cost of thirty one million US dollars. "Significant progress has been achieved in the peace process between the parties concerned and more funds would be made available soon to assist affected people in the conflict areas," said Mr. Peter Harrold, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka addressing NEPC ministry officials after signing the agreement.

Mr. Peter Harrold and Mr.S.Rangarajah, Chief Secretary of the NEPC signed on behalf of their respective organizations Thursday at the auditorium of the provincial ministry of health in Trincomalee.

"I am told that this is first time the World Bank has entered into an agreement directly with NEPC in Sri Lanka. It is a great pleasure for me to be in Trincomalee today to sign this agreement on behalf of the World Bank," said Mr. Peter Harrold.

WB NEPC signing
Mr.Peter Harrold and Mr.S.Rangarajah signing the agreement

As an effort to consolidate peace in Sri Lanka the World Bank agreed on November 14 to provide US Dollar 31 million to improve the lives and economic prospects of people living the conflict affected areas. The funds were mobilized quickly in response to the immediate need for easing the hardships and as part of a broader World Bank strategy to support Sri Lanka's national economic reform and development in the context of the peace process, WB sources said.

"The new financing will support an Emergency Reconstruction Programme which will held restore primary health care; repair urban water schemes; provide returning families with opportunities for income generation and employment; and build capacity to undertake a multi-donor financed reconstruction programme in the coming years. The North East Provincial Council will administer the programme," said World Bank Country Director Mr. Peter Harrold.

WB receives giftMr.Rangarajah gave a small box made up of palmyra leaves to the World Bank Country Director Mr. Peter Harrold as a gift.

Ms Speldwinde, Secretary to the Ministry of Home Affairs, Provincial Councils and local Government also spoke. Later WB Country Director for Sri Lanka conferred with the provincial ministry officials regarding the implementation of the NEERP through various agencies of the NEPC, sources said.


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