2nd Lead (Adds photos)
Akashi visits Trincomalee, meets community leaders
[TamilNet, Saturday, 30 October 2004, 11:53 GMT]
Mr.Yasushi Akashi, Japanese special peace envoy Saturday visited Trincomalee and held discussions with the delegations representing Tamils, Sinhalese and Muslims in the Trincomalee district separately at the residence of Parish Priest of Trincomalee St Mary's Cathedral. "Trincomalee district has showed to the world that there is a possibility for co-existence and co-operation between the three communities in Sri Lanka," said Mr.Akashi after the discussion.
"I am not a prophet but a peacemaker," said Mr.Akashi in reply to reporter's question whether Sri Lanka can expect a dramatic turn in the stalled peace talks during his stay in Sri Lanka.
Mr.Akashi arrived at the Trincomalee St.Mary's Cathedral Saturday morning and was received by the Parish Priest Rev.Fr George Dissanayake and Assistant Parish Priest Rev.Fr P.Ramesh. Later he was taken to the Parish
Priest's residence in a procession. Mr.Akashi first met with the delegation of Tamils led by Mr.Nadaraja Mahendran.
Tamil delegation brought to the notice of Mr.Akashi that despite the ceasefire Tamils are still suffering from the trauma of two decade old war. Large number of internally displaced people are still languishing in camps and welfare centres unable to return to their own houses and lands, the delegation told Akashi.
Later he met with the Muslim delegation led by a leading attorney-at-law Mr.O.L.M. Ismail. The Muslim delegation urged that in future peace talks Muslim people should be considered as a separate entity and a separate Muslim delegation should be included in the peace talks.
|Akashi and Sinhala delegation
|Akashi and Muslim delegation
|Mr.Akashi being received with " Arathi" according to Hindu custom after being received by Rev.Fr.George Dissanayake ( R ), Parish Priest of Trincomalee St Mary's Cathedral and Assistant Parish Priest Rev.Fr P.Ramesh ( L) at the entrance to the cathedral
|Akashi and Tamil delegation
Mr.Akashi also met with the Sinhalese delegation led by Venerable Ananda Keerthi Thera. The delegation said currently merged northeast province should be de-merged to strengthen the unity of all communities. Both provinces were merged temporarily in 1987 without consulting the people, the delegation said. They further said it was opposing recommencing peace talks on the basis of Interim Self Governing Authority (ISGA) proposals of the LTTE.
Mr.Yasushi Akashi said he would be placing all representations made by the three communities in the Trincomalee district at the proper forum.
Mr.Akashi left Trincomalee by afternoon, sources said.