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Germany suspends aid to Sri Lanka

Germany stops aid to Lanka in view of the renewed civil war and clashes, reports PK Balachandran.

india Updated: Dec 25, 2006 18:57 IST

Germany has suspended all its aid to Sri Lanka on account of the unceasing ethnic conflict here, according to its Development Aid Minister, Heidmarie Wieczorek-Zeul.

Speaking to the Berlin-based Sunday paper Der Tagesspiegel, the Minister said that Germany had suspended aid to Sri Lanka in view of the renewed civil war and military clashes in the North East of the island country.

"It would be nice if other Western governments act in the same manner," Wieczorek-Zeul added.

Germany was to give Sri Lanka 19 million Euros for tsunami reconstruction. But this money would now go to Indonesia, for the rehabilitation of the tsunami-hit Aceh province, she said.

Germany is the only country in the world to have stopped economic aid to Sri Lanka on account of the ethnic conflict.

Other countries have continued to do so. The Japanese have been the largest donors.

Colombo differs

But the Sri Lankan Minister for Disaster Management Mahinda Samarasinghe said that his government had not been intimated about the stoppage of German aid.

At any rate, the German Minister's assessment of the situation in the island was not correct, he added.

He told Daily Mirror on Monday that the German Minister had made a similar comment about two months ago when the German NGO, GTZ, had pulled out of the war-torn North East saying that it was unable to function there because of the difficulty in taking building materials.

Samarasinghe said that he had taken up this issue with the German Ambassador in Colombo and had also set up a system whereby NGOs could take building materials to the North East.

NGOs and others have been facing difficulties in taking building material to the war-affected areas because the government fears that the LTTE may hijack them and use them to build its bunkers.

The Sri Lankan Minister said that he did not agree with the German Minister's assessment of the ethnic and security situation in Sri Lanka because the government here had taken steps to address the relevant issues.

First Published: Dec 25, 2006 18:50 IST