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Japan to organize Sri Lanka creditors’ meeting over debt crisis

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Japan is working to organize a meeting of Sri Lanka’s creditors by the end of this year in hopes of solving that country’s debt crisis, The Yomiuri Shimbun has learned.

The meeting, which will discuss such issues as finding ways to reduce debt payments, aims to curb China’s influence by helping Sri Lanka cope with its so-called debt traps, which arose after China provided huge loans to the country to fund infrastructure developments and other projects.

Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe asked Japan for help during talks with Prime Minister Fumio Kishida and other people during a visit to Japan at the end of September to attend the funeral of former Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, according to Japanese government sources.

The meeting is expected to focus on measures to reduce debt payments and postpone repayment deadlines, among other related steps. Japan continues to urge other creditor countries to play a proactive role in dealing with the issue.

Sri Lanka’s economy has suffered due to sluggish tourism during the novel coronavirus pandemic and soaring food and resource prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In April, the Sri Lankan government introduced an emergency measure to suspend its repayment of external debts.

According to the Sri Lankan government, the nation’s external debt at the end of June stood at $46.6 billion (¥6.93 trillion), accounting for about 70% of its gross domestic product.

Sri Lanka has more than 20 creditors, with China topping the list at $7.3 billion (about ¥1.086 trillion), followed by Japan at $2.7 billion (about ¥402 billion) and India at $1.7 billion (about ¥253 billion).

While struggling to repay its debts, Sri Lanka in 2017 effectively transferred to China the operating rights of one of its ports.

China – which has come under criticism from the international community for causing Sri Lanka’s economic collapse – will not play a leading role in restructuring Sri Lanka’s debts, and the Japanese government will have to tread carefully in its efforts to reach agreement among creditors in a manner acceptable to Beijing.

(yomiuri.co.jp)

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CBSL appoints two New Deputy Governors

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The Central Bank of Sri Lanka (CBSL) has appointed two new Deputy Governors, effective this week. 

Assistant Governor and Secretary to the Governing Board A.A.M. Thassim has been appointed as Deputy Governor starting June 20, while Assistant Governor J.P.R. Karunaratne will assume his new role on June 24.

These appointments were made by the Minister of Finance, following recommendations from the CBSL Governing Board, in accordance with the Central Bank of Sri Lanka Act, No. 16 of 2023.

Mr. Thassim brings over 31 years of experience at CBSL, having worked in various areas including Banking Supervision and Regulation, International Operations, and Risk Management. He has also been part of several high-level committees on monetary policy and financial stability.

Mr. Karunaratne, with over 33 years at CBSL, has extensive experience in the supervision and regulation of financial institutions, currency management, and public debt. He has significantly contributed to strengthening the legal framework and consolidation of the Non-Bank Financial Institutions sector.

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UK rejects TGTE appeal to lift LTTE proscription

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The UK Proscribed Organisations Appeals Commission has rejected an appeal by the Transitional Government of Tamil Eelam (TGTE) to lift the proscription on the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as a terrorist organisation in Britain.

Sri Lanka’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ali Sabry, confirmed that the UK will continue to maintain the proscription on the LTTE. Announcing this on ‘X’ (formerly Twitter), Sabry noted that the independent court, headed by a high court judge and two retired senior diplomats, ruled against de-proscribing the LTTE.

The TGTE, which supports the creation of an independent Tamil state in north-east Sri Lanka, had appealed to the UK to lift its ban on the LTTE. However, the TGTE itself is not proscribed in the UK as it seeks to achieve its political and ideological objectives through non-violent means.

Sabry further stated, “The LTTE international network’s approach and strategy is to get foreign governments to de-proscribe the LTTE so that they could revive the LTTE.”

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Thai PM justifies frequent international trips, including a visit to Sri Lanka

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Thailand’s Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin defended his frequent globe-trotting during his first 10 months as leader of the Southeast Asian nation, in remarks aired in a television broadcast on Saturday.

A real estate tycoon and political newcomer who became prime minister in August last year, Srettha made 15 overseas visits and pledged a two-month halt in March in response to public criticism.

“Some of these visits are not avoidable,” he said, referring to those for official meetings of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), as well as to China and Japan, while a third was to Sri Lanka to sign a free trade pact.

Other visits aimed to draw trade and investment, said Srettha, nicknamed Thailand’s salesman, who has often spoken of his goal of luring more foreign investment to the country.

“It’s necessary to go,” he said in the remarks recorded in advance.

Source: Reuters

–Agencies

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