‘Chinese Banks ready to negotiate’

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The Chinese Embassy tweeted yesterday (15) that Chinese banks were ready to negotiate with Sri Lanka to handle matured debts.

Chinese Ambassador, Qi Zhenhong, who had met Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe yesterday underlined China’s sustained support for Sri Lanka, including grants, trade, and investment in the current crisis situation.

China earlier had turned down a request for USD 1.5 billion currency swap. In a recent interview with an Indian TV channel, the Prime Minister said that he would be having a dialogue with China shortly and try to get them included in a donor conference which he intends to hold soon. The Prime Minister said “China has been assisting Sri Lanka to some extent but major assistance that was to come did not come our way as we were working with India”. 

But yesterday the Chinese Embassy tweeted that the Prime Minister agreed with the Chinese envoy for joint ventures. Ambassador Qi had said that projects have been playing a vitally important role in Sri Lanka’s development and employment in the crisis, and both sides should support their construction and operation to generate impulse for Sri Lanka’s economic recovery.

Meanwhile, China with the support of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) has provided 328,660 packs of medical equipment worth USD 800,000 to the grassroots public health workers across the island.

 The packs of medical supplies were handed over to the Family Health Bureau through the Ministry of Health the UNFPA said. The  packs will be distributed to all 25 districts to be used in maternal and child health clinics, family planning clinics, Mithuru Piyasa centres (Sexual and Gender-Based Violence service centres), Yowun Piyasa centres (Adolescent and youth-friendly health centres) and Well Woman clinics.

At the event, Ambassador Qi noted, “Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, frontline healthcare workers have been placing themselves and their families at grave risk to care for those in need of their service. We believe the equipment provided today will go a long way in protecting frontline workers, especially amidst the prevailing socio-economic crisis that is endangering access to such protective equipment.”

Minister of Health, Keheliya Rambukwella added that health care workers have been stretched thin with the risk of infection faced in carrying out their duties during public health emergencies. The personal protective equipment (PPE) provided today will help the Ministry ensure the safety of our staff as they serve the people of Sri Lanka and strengthen our ability to respond to such emergencies in future.”

By Sulochana Ramiah Mohan