Sri Lankan Prime Minister's concluding remarks in Tokyo

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 10 June 2003, 11:32 GMT]
"Sri Lanka has to overcome the delays, the blockages and the inertia of its bureaucratic apparatus and transform it into one capable of speedy implementation where work is done efficiently and effectively. This requires significant political resolve and I intend to provide the leadership necessary to achieve this result," said Sri Lanka's Prime Minister in his statement to the concluding session of the Japan aid meeting on 10 June.

Full text of Ranil Wickremesinghe's statement follows:

Mr. Chairman, Distinguished Delegates Friends

The act you have just performed of adopting the Declaration on the Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka is a historic one for all of us.

It marks the end of one chapter and the beginning of another.

For the people and the Government of Sri Lanka, hope for a future of peace, progress and development. For all of you partners with us on our journey, the prospect of fulfillment in the achievement of a cherished goal - that of peace in a country to which you have given so much of your time, your concern and your effort.

I know I am echoing the sentiments of all our people when I thank you from the bottom of my heart for the outstanding display of cooperation and friendship throughout these last two days in Tokyo.

All of the presentations made by the delegates in this Conference had one central thought. That of Peace in Sri Lanka and the belief that although the challenges were profound, the promise of success was clearly evident.

I want to tell you all – the sponsor of this unique meeting- Japan, the Co-chairs of the Conference, all of the 51 country participants and 21 international organizations that gathered here in Tokyo on the invitation of the Government of Japan that I personally, deeply and sincerely appreciate the untiring efforts all of you have made on behalf of my people and country.

The messages you gave us through these two days- your analyses and your observations, as we set out on this challenging journey, were loud and clear.

The Declaration marks out the sign posts for the road we will be taking, together.

First, that we need to make every effort to restart the process and resume negotiations towards the goals set out at Oslo. Today’s Tokyo Declaration sets-out a new framework which I strongly believe will re-energize Sri Lanka’s peace and development.

Second, Sri Lanka has to overcome the delays, the blockages and the inertia of its bureaucratic apparatus and transform it into one capable of speedy implementation where work is done efficiently and effectively. This requires significant political resolve and I intend to provide the leadership necessary to achieve this result.

Third, that there is an intrinsic link between peace and development, and

Fourth, that there is global support for the Sri Lanka peace process.

As I said yesterday in my opening remarks, I regret the fact that the LTTE are not with us here in Tokyo. Had they been here they too could have heard and been encouraged by these messages and shared in the success of this event.

Our efforts at getting the LTTE back to the table will continue. The six rounds of talks, in the making of which many of you have rendered yeoman service, have yielded remarkable achievement.

· The ceasefire has been consolidated · The LTTE have reiterated their serious and sincere commitment to the peace process · And, the process itself continues with contact being maintained at various levels

The central message of this conference will be most helpful in the resumption of negotiations.

Your confidence that this will soon happen is manifest in your positive response to the Needs Assessment report and our strategic vision of Regaining Sri Lanka.

The figures of your pledges speak for themselves. Assistance for the reconstruction and development of the entirety of Sri Lanka to a cumulative estimated amount in excess of US $ 4.5 billion over four years. These resources will be dedicated to the regaining Sri Lanka programme, the reconstruction of the North and East and the five adjacent Districts.

I must confess that even the most optimistic among us would not have expected this massive, overwhelming indication of support. It will lay the foundation for the realization of our goal of a peaceful Sri Lanka in which all its people could live in harmony, safety and dignity.

With your encouragement and active involvement, we can make it happen.

I referred yesterday to the uniqueness of the international community’s support for Sri Lanka even while a permanent peace was not yet a reality. Since the ceasefire, 15 months ago, the international community has demonstrated an uncommon faith in our ability to move forward and supported us with the resources to do so. Oslo was one such instance.

Today at Tokyo we see not only a magnificent collective pledge of support and encouragement but also the prospect of even more support if we can successfully achieve our goal.

With your help, and the peaceful resolution of our conflict we can become a successful model for others similarly placed to follow.

Many of you have indicated that your assistance will keep pace with satisfactory progress on the peace process. I, for one, welcome that. I see no problem in your having such an expectation.

In fact I would go further and say that we wish to be as transparent as possible in regard to the aid we will receive and spend.

And, I invite you in all sincerity to let us know what more you would wish us to do to be accountable. Our civil society, too, as was expressed to you yesterday will need to be brought in fully to participate with us as we move forward.

In conclusion, I wish once again to thank all those who made this unique and historic event for Sri Lanka possible. Specially to the Secretariat working behind the scene to ensure this conference ran smoothly.

The personal inspiration and support of His Excellency Junichiro Koizumi, Prime Minister of Japan and Her Excellency Yoriko Kawaguchi, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan have been outstanding. Ambassador Akashi has been a towering pillar of strength to me personally and has helped us all at every turn. I hope that the Tokyo Declaration and the follow-up action contained therein, even in a modest way, could develop into a symbol for the success of Prime Minister Koizumi’s Consolidation of peace Imitative.

The work, support and encouragement of the indefatigable facilitator- Norway, the Co-chairs, and all of the delegates here present has been magnificent in their support.

Tomorrow, our real work starts.

On behalf of the people and Government of Sri Lanka, to all of you, I offer my warmest thanks for your good wishes, encouragement and continued support.

“Bohoma Istuthi” in Sinhala, “Nandri” in Tamil, and “Domo Arigato Gozaimashta” in the language we all know

 

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