Breakdown in JM negotiations will be a major blow- Akashi
[TamilNet, Saturday, 14 May 2005, 21:15 GMT]
Expressing Japan's frustration in the delay in forging permanent peace in Sri Lanka, Japanese peace envoy Yakushi Akashi, turning his attention the aid deal for post-tsunami development said, "The breakdown of negotiations on the Joint Mechanism will be a major blow to all concerned specially to Sri Lankan people who have every right to expect...assistance from abroad...but we must find alternative means for aid delivery." Mr Akashi talked to the reporter in Colombo after meeting S P Thamilchelvan, Head of LTTE political wing Saturday morning.
Mr Akashi met the LTTE delegation at the Kilinochchi LTTE Peace Secretariat building at 10.40 am Saturday.
Excerpts on Akashi's briefing to reporters in Kilinochchi follow:
"I had a very useful discussion with Mr Thamilchelvan on a number of issues of common interest, the progress in the peace process was one such issue. And in that connection of course we assessed the progress towards establishment of the Joint Mechanism for the post-tsunami assistance. We also touched the forthcoming Kandy meeting of the Development Forum and we discussed also the concerns of LTTE as well as the concerns of the donor community about some difficulties we confront. And I think we agree d that we are at a crucial point in the situation. There are matters of deep concern in the implementation of the CFA. There are violations, political killings for one, and the question of recruitment of underage children. We have listened carefully to explanations offered by Thamilchelvan and we will work with a better understanding of the situation.
"I also stressed not all the problems are resolved. I can understand the frustrations of the people of Tamil area. But all the donor communities of countries are working very hard to help the people of entire Sri Lanka including of course the people residing in North and East who have every right to aspire for a better life.
When asked about his discussions with other leaders in Colombo, Mr Akashi said, "I briefed Mr Thamilchelvan my discussions in Colombo with leaders of various political parties including of course JVP, Muslim parties. They expressed to me their comments views which they hoped will be taken into account."
On the need to establish a Joint Mechanism, the peace envoy said, "It will be useful to introduce some efficiency, transparency and balance into the Joint Mechanism. Japan has its way, a bilateral way of lending assistance which is not necessarily the way of trust fund. So I say yes Joint Mechanism will be useful will be necessary to inject new energy and vitality into the operation..there are many technical details which have to be discussed...after the technical discussions have been completed now it is a matter for the governement of Sri Lanka to decide to go ahead.
"I also had long discussions with JVP leader Mr Amerasinghe and I understand his concerns and his comments. We do not agree on all points with each other but I hope there will be sufficient explanations so that people with questions and doubts can be satisfied.
I want to make it absolutely clear that the meeting of the Development Forum is organized by the Government of Sri Lanka, I think the World Bank has advised the Government but the organization the program and the agenda entirely belongs to the Government. The Government has invited International Financial Organizations and donor community to it. People may have different opinions [on] how to organzie such a conference. We respect and recognize the responsibility of the Government to organize such a conference. I think it is one way to help make progress in peace process and if this mechanism is established and it is functional it will certainly contribute to confidence building and building of mutual trust which might take the dialogue through comprehensive and durable peace."