Akashi hosts Tiger delegation to traditional meal
[TamilNet, Thursday, 20 March 2003, 10:57 GMT]
Japan’s Special Peace Envoy to Sri Lanka, Mr. Yasushi Akashi, Thursday hosted a lunch for the Liberation Tigers’ delegation at the sixth round of direct talks between the LTTE and the Sri Lankan government, officials said. Japanese diplomats and LTTE officials sat down to a traditional Japanese meal at a top restaurant in the hot spring resort of Hakone where the talks are being held.
The LTTE delegation was led by Chief Negotiator Anton Balasingham and included Col Karuna, Special Commander for Batticaloa-Amparai, Mr. S. P. Tamilselvan, head of the movement’s Political Wing, Mrs. Adele Balasingham, Secretary to the delegation, Mr. Jay Maheswaran, a senior official on the Sub-Committee on Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs in the North and East (SIHRN), Mr. Pulidevan, head of the LTTE’s peace secreterait, and four other LTTE officials.
Mr. Akashi’s delegation included Mr. Seichro Otsuka, Japan’s Ambassador to Sri Lanka and three other Foreign Ministry diplomats.
The eight course traditional Japanese meal included fish caught from the nearby Lake Ashi, sources said.
Mr. Akashi had welcomed the LTTE delegates to Japan and expressed optimism the Norwegian-facilitated peace process would progress smoothly, with the inevitable points of contention being resolved through discussion. Mr. Akashi also thanked the LTTE for their hospitality during his visit earlier this year to Kilinochchi in the LTTE-held Vanni.
Responding on behalf of the LTTE delegation, Mr. Balasingham thanked Mr. Akashi for his hospitality and said Japan’s active participation in the Sri Lankan peace process had enhanced the international standing of the talks.
Mr. Akashi hosted the Sri Lankan government and Norwegian delegations to luncheon on Tuesday, the first day of the talks, officials said. The LTTE delegation, which was preparing for the discussions later that day had not been able to attend, sources said.