Saudi Fund for Development, Sri Lanka sign 2 loan agreements

Saudi Fund For Development (SFD) Adviser Abdullah Al-Shedokhi, left, and R.H.S Samaratunga, secretary to the treasury in Sri Lanka, right, sign the agreements in the presence of Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim, standing second right. (AN photo)
Updated 07 April 2017
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Saudi Fund for Development, Sri Lanka sign 2 loan agreements

RIYADH: The Saudi Fund for Development (SFD) signed two loan agreements with Sri Lanka to assist the island nation in two projects.
SFD Adviser Abdullah Al-Shedokhi and R.H.S Samaratunga, secretary to the treasury of Sri Lanka, signed the SR263 million agreement for the Mahaweli Left Bank Basin Development and the Wayamba University/Township Development Project.
Mahaweli Left Bank Lower Basin Development Project is a proposal made by Vijith Vijayamuni Zoysa, minister of irrigation and water resources management, at an estimated cost of $430 million, with the objective of providing irrigated water during two seasons for 4,000 acres of land to include Kinniya and Kantale Trincomalee and the Polonnaruwa districts.
Wayamba University of Sri Lanka (WUSL), which is located at Kuliyapitya and Makandura with easy access from Colombo, Kurunegala, and Kandy, is a modern learning and research institution in Sri Lanka.
According to Sri Lankan Ambassador Azmi Thassim, the SFD has been instrumental in financing several projects in the island. The construction of a bridge, which links the Eastern town of Trincomalee with Kinniya, a Muslim village, is beneficial to some 100,000 people living in Kinniya. The residents were using ferry as their mode of transport to come to Trincomalee, the northeastern capital of the island. The Trincomalee-Batticaloa highway was also widened with the same funds allocated under the agreement.
Earlier, Sri Lanka government signed two loan agreements with SFD to obtain partial financing for the $140 million rehabilitation of the A5 Road corridor from Badulla to Chenkaladi.
The A5 corridor is one of the major highways linking parts of the Central Province to Eastern Province geopolitical zones of the country, which carries the bulk of the traffic between Batticaloa and Peradeniya via Badulla.
Improvements to A5 road corridor from Badulla to Chenkaladi would enhance access to markets and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals and integrate isolated segments of the rural population into the overall economy, the Finance Ministry said in a short statement on Friday.


Claims of illegal coalition airstrikes in Yemen denied

The Joint Incident Assessment Team is currently investigating 70 cases. SPA
Updated 13 min 8 sec ago
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Claims of illegal coalition airstrikes in Yemen denied

  • JIAT found that the coalition air forces did not attack the mosque, and that there were no signs of damages on July 14, 2015
  • The Joint Incident Assessment Team found that the coalition forces executed a mission on three legitimate military targets in Aden

RIYADH: Accusations that the coalition conducted illegal airstrikes on five sites were denied at a press conference by the Joint incident Assessment TEAM (JIAT) on Sunday.

JIAT spokesman Mansour Al-Mansour said: “The number of assessments that the team is currently undertaking is 70 cases and we have completed five assessments.”

The team refuted the allegations made against the Arab coalition in Yemen, producing evidence and a team of experts, including legal consultants accredited by international organizations and military professionals.

The first case concerned a Human Rights Watch report on June 11, 2016, which claimed that the coalition dropped a bomb in the neighborhood of Hasbah in Sanaa targeting the Chamber of Commerce. It injured a security guard and destroyed the eastern wing of a three-story building.

“The team received intelligence from coalition forces regarding the Houthi militias’ use of the building as military barracks.

“Therefore, the coalition forces at the time bombed the building in Sanaa, which fell from the legal protection prescribed by international conventions, as it was a legitimate target that held Houthi militia. As a legitimate military target, attacking it achieves a military advantage,” said Al-Mansour.

The second case concerned a report from the International Committee of the Red Cross on Aug. 6, 2015, which said that the coalition carried out an airstrike on Bab Aden Water Reservoir on July 8, 2015.

JIAT found that the coalition forces executed a mission on three legitimate military targets in Aden. The closest target to Bab Aden Water Reservoir was approximately 5,500 meters. Al-Mansour said: “JIAT found that the coalition air forces did not target Bab Aden Water Reservoir.”    

The third case concerned the annual report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued on Aug. 4, 2016, which stated that the coalition carried out an attack on Al-Hosaini Mosque on July 14, 2015, in Aden.

“According to locals, the mosque was used for military purposes by the Houthi militia.”

However, JIAT found that the coalition air forces did not attack the mosque, and that there were no signs of damages on July 14, 2015. The target was a building where Houthi militants gathered in Aden, 4km away from the claimed location.

The fourth case concerned a claim that there were three airstrikes on Al-Qat market, killing 25 people and injuring 16 others.

Al-Mansour said: “JIAT found that on Sept. 19, 2015, the coalition executed two air missions on two legitimate military targets, which achieved a military advantage, in Sadah Governorate, the closest location was a cave used by Houthi Militia as weapons storage, located 100km away from Al-Qat market.

“The JIAT found that the coalition air forces did not attack the market, and confirmed the procedures of the coalition in attacking the legitimate military target, which was 100km away from Al-Qat market.”

The fifth case concerned news broadcast in the Yemeni media that the coalition forces executed an airstrike on a health center for cholera patients at 4:30 p.m. on June 3, 2017, which was crowded with cholera patients and their companions in Qahza district, Sadah city. The airstrike caused dozens of injuries, destroyed the building and the center’s medical facilities, putting it out of service.

“JIAT found that on June 3, 2017, the coalition air forces executed three air missions on military targets used by Houthi militia as missile storages in Sadah, that represented a legitimate military target, located 3km away from the claimed location, and were direct hits,” Al-Mansour said.  

Pictures were shown at the press conference to refute claims that the collation was unlawfully bombing and not adhering to the international humanitarian law.

Al-Mansour concluded by saying: “Based on the above, the team has concluded that the three military actions were correct and consistent with international humanitarian law.”