Co-chairs meet in Washington
[TamilNet, Tuesday, 21 November 2006, 11:19 GMT]
The meeting of Sri Lanka Co-chairs, a representative body of 58 donor countries, led by the European Union, Norway, Japan and the United States are meeting in Washington from Monday afternoon to Tuesday. The meeting is expected to explore ways for the International Community to move the peace process in Sri Lanka forward, according to Deputy spokesperson of the US Department of State speaking at the press briefing Monday. Under-Secretary of State Nicholas Burns will host the meeting.
US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Richard Boucher, European Commission Director General for External Relations Herve Jouanjean, Norwegian Minister of International Development Erik Solheim and Japanese Special Envoy Yasushi Akashi are said to be participating in the meeting.
Excerpts related to Sri Lanka from daily press briefing at the US Department of State follows:QUESTION:
A different subject. Do you have a preview of tomorrow's Sri Lanka conference? And also, do you have any readout of Secretary Hill's travels in China?MR. CASEY:
Which do you want first?QUESTION:
MR. CASEY: Let's try Sri Lanka first and then we'll move over to Chris Hill unless there are other Sri Lanka questions.
I think you've all seen the Notice to the Press that we put out a little earlier today. There is going to be a meeting that actually is being hosted starting today and going on into tomorrow of the Tokyo Donors Conference on Sri Lanka. This is the pairing of us and a number of other co-chair representatives, so it's the U.S., Norway, Japan and the EU. And this is basically the main forum that we're using to discuss strategies that the international community can pursue to be able to encourage the peace process in Sri Lanka.
I understand that the last meeting of this took place in September and this is, in effect, a follow-on to that meeting. We will, again, be looking to see what we can do to help move that process forward and we think it's important for the people of Sri Lanka that that peace process does move forward and ultimately leads to a resolution to the longstanding situation in the country.QUESTION:
So (inaudible) meeting today? Because the announcement came out this morning and said the meeting was being hosted tomorrow. So how is it -- what's happening today exactly?MR. CASEY:
There are preliminary discussions taking place today, as I understand it, but the basic -- the lead for the United States on this is Under Secretary Burns.QUESTION:
So the main part of the meeting is tomorrow?MR. CASEY:
I believe that -- I believe they are starting today late afternoon and then continuing on into tomorrow.QUESTION:
Do you have any details on what those strategies might be? Are there any new ones, do you know?MR. CASEY:
I'll leave it to Ambassador Burns and his co-chairs to talk to you all after the meeting. I don't want to try and preview. This is sort of a regular activity that's engaged in. Again, I think we are continuing to share that the international community believes very strongly that we need this process to move forward. And again, we will, as we have at previous sessions, look for ways where we as an international community, and specifically in this format the Tokyo donors conference, can help push that process forward.QUESTION:
Will you release a statement afterwards? Will it be a joint official thing?MR. CASEY:
Well, as you saw from the notice, Under Secretary Burns and his co-chairs will be giving a press conference.QUESTION:
I'm not sure if there will be a formal written statement that will accompany that or not, but you'll have a chance to hear from them directly about what they've done and their activities there.