China must cooperate with Sri Lanka in its debt restructuring process, U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) administrator Samantha Power said on Sunday, while assuring Colombo of U.S. support .
Sri Lanka, which opted for a precautionary sovereign default in April amid a rapid downturn, must negotiate with its various creditors – international sovereign bondholders, multilateral agencies, bilateral creditors such as China, Japan and the United States. India – and restructure its outstanding debt to them. , in order to qualify for an envelope of 2.9 billion dollars from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
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Addressing a press conference at the end of her two-day visit, Ms Power said: “The United States, as a creditor and as a member of the Paris Club, is ready to participate in the restructuring Sri Lanka’s debt. It is imperative that all of Sri Lanka’s creditors, including the People’s Republic of China, cooperate openly and on comparable terms in this process.
The sighting came in line with his remarks in New Delhi in July that “opaque” Chinese loans funding “headline-grabbing” infrastructure projects in Sri Lanka had contributed to the island nation’s crisis. He also echoed India’s statement after Sri Lanka reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF that “creditor fairness and transparency matter.” The creditors, she said, had the chance to make “a very positive difference and relieve Sri Lanka of some of its acute over-indebtedness”. During Ms. Power’s visit, USAID pledged $60 million for fertilizer for farmers and emergency humanitarian assistance.
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In addition, Ms Power said her delegation had stressed to Sri Lankan leaders that political reform and accountability must go “hand in hand” with economic recovery. “What we have emphasized is, given the demands and aspirations of the people of Sri Lanka, the importance of being transparent on this roadmap about these intentions, and ensuring that political reform does not is not depicted one way or another, as it is by some, [as being] in tension with economic stability.
President Wickremesinghe’s office, in a statement after the meeting, said it outlined the government’s plans to enact legislation to curb the powers of the executive, new anti-terrorism legislation and electoral reforms.
On US engagement at the UN Human Rights Council, where a resolution on Sri Lanka is expected soon, Ms Power said it was “very clear on the ground” that the aspirations of those who survived the long civil war, seeking justice and obtaining “the basic facts and the basic truth” about missing persons, despite “multiple attempts” and processes to generate progress. “So it is in that spirit that the United States is engaging as part of the core group [on Sri Lanka] in Geneva,” said Ms. Power, who previously served as US Ambassador to the UN.
“As someone who has traveled and met survivors of violence and seen so many mothers still carrying the pictures of their missing children, I would say that any action that can be taken to offer comfort to the families who have endured, the kind of violence and suffering that has happened in this country, it is important that we are all behind it,” she said.