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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2769

Japan is totally committed to continue aid to Sri Lanka - Akashi

Colombo, 10 June, ( Special Peace Envoy Yashushi Akashi assured “Japan will continue aid to Sri Lanka“. Despite snags in the search for peace and concerns about human rights in the country, special Japanese Envoy guaranteed that it will continue assistance to Sri Lanka without interruption.

Akashi underlined that the Tokyo Declaration in 2003 linked foreign assistance to Sri Lanka to progress on the peace process. He pointed out that some European nations have drawn Japan's attention to its continuing substantial aid despite slow progress toward peace. But he said Japan does not want victims of the war to pay the price for the problems in the peace process.

"Why should the common people be punished for acts of commission and omission by their leaders?" - Japanese diplomat said.

Visiting Japanese Special Peace Envoy Yashushi Akashi on Saturday (9 June 2007) said, "Even if some of the donors have doubts and hesitations. Japan is totally committed to be on your side at the time of difficulty and challenge."

Ambassador Akashi made this observation in remarks to the media following a meeting with Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama at the Lakshman Kadirgamar Institute of International Relation and Strategic Studies (LKIIRSS) on Saturday (9th). The Japanese Ambassador to Sri Lanka Kiyoshi Araki accompanied Ambassador Akashi while Foreign Secretary Dr. Palitha Kohona and Director General/Public Communications Ravinatha Aryasinha were associated with the Minister.

Ambassador Akashi stated, “We are happy and proud to play our modest role in this country as the largest donor country and as an active member of the Co-chairs.” He mentioned Japan will endeavor to play a positive role in this post conflict rehabilitation phase, particularly in the Eastern part of the country.

Ambassador Akashi further stated, "In our bilateral relations we had most cordial relationship and we are totally satisfied with the fruitful results so far. Japan remembers very fondly the generous attitude taken by Sri Lanka at the time of San Francisco Peace Conference which brought back Japan’s independence after the Second World War."

Earlier, addressing the media, Minister Bogollagama said he greatly appreciated the visit of Ambassador Akashi who has been associated with the Peace Process of Sri Lanka for a period of time. As a co- chair of the Peace Process the contribution extended by the Japanese Government to Sri Lanka’s efforts in obtaining sustainable peace was deeply appreciated and it had helped strengthen that mission.

The Minister appreciated the understanding Japan has always shown of the difficulties that had been experienced in Sri Lanka. He said Sri Lanka had a two pronged approach in terms of direction for peace. One is to seek sustainable peace for the people of Sri Lanka. The other is to meet the challenge of terrorism. Sri Lanka was seeking to address both these challenges at the same time.

Sri Lanka had brought in the All Parties Representative Committee to address political process that could ultimately establish sustainable peace, the political devolution and the reforms that are needed. Japan’s understanding of that mission and support towards that efforts was appreciated. Even while addressing the challenges of terrorism, Sri Lanka had not hesitated to call the LTTE to be part of the Peace Process, and had met with them in Geneva. The government wanted to make the LTTE stake holders of this process. At the same time when acts of terrorism are committed the Government was compelled to respond.

The Minister said, his talks with the Ambassador had shown that the Government of Japan is mindful and appreciative of the current developments that Sri Lanka had registered in the Eastern province. He said the rehabilitation process, the reconstruction process associated in the Eastern province has registered a new dimension in the post conflict development in Sri Lanka. The positive impressions that Ambassador Akashi carries from his visit to this area will help further in improving the conditions for the people living in those areas towards having a pluralistic democratic environment in the Eastern province which the President is wanting to establish through the local government elections.

The Minister said, in terms of efforts before the co-chairs, Japan’s support was appreciated and it was expected that the presence of Japan will strengthen the process of bringing a greater degree of clarity to the co-chairs all together, in terms of what has to be looked at in Sri Lanka. He also appreciated the continuing development assistance extended by Japan.

- Asian Tribune -

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