Fresh off the wires, Reuters is reporting that the Obama administration is seeking to delay a $1.9 billion loan to Sri Lanka from the International Monetary Fund. I’m working on a longer piece about this that I do not want to cannibalize, but here is the money quote from an un-named American official.
“The problem, from our vantage point, is that the Sri Lankans have refused to engage on the humanitarian crisis as a priority,” said one U.S. official. Delaying an IMF loan “is an attempt to get their priorities back where they should be.”
This is a VERY forceful policy response to the unfolding crisis in Sri Lanka. It places the onus of civilian protection in Sri Lanka squarely at the feet of the government in Columbo and comes after two weeks of tough talk by top officials in the Obama administration. Now, by blocking the loan, the administration is backing tough talk with action, and quite literally putting its money where its mouth is. Needless to say, it is nice to see this kind of policy and messaging coordination in pursuit of something that is clearly not a top American foreign policy priority, but nevertheless an important matter of human rights.