Akashi confers with Amparai Muslim, Tamil leaders
[TamilNet, Saturday, 13 September 2003, 14:10 GMT]
The Japanese special peace envoy, Mr.Yasushi Akashi, Saturday held talks with Muslim and Tamil delegations separately and jointly at Kalmunai in the eastern province. Mr. Akashi arrived at Kalmunai Saturday morning by a special helicopter of the Sri Lanka Air Force, accompanied by Minister and Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader Mr.Rauff Hakeem and SLMC parliamentarians Mr. H.M.M.Harris and Mr.Anwer Ismail, sources said.
Mr. Akashi met the Muslim delegation first at the Kalmunai Mahmud Girls College, which was attended by Minister Hakeem and parliamentarians Mr. Harris and Ismail. The Muslim delegation brought to the notice of Mr.Akashi the problems confronting Muslims in the sphere of security and development in their villages, sources said.
Mr. Akashi thereafter met the peace committee, which comprised Tamils and Muslims, at the office of the Kalmunai Divisional Secretariat (Muslim Division). Tamils were represented by Amparai district Tamil National Alliance parliamentarian Mr. A.Chandra Nehru, Brother Stephen Mathew, Dr. S.I.A Mathew and Dr N.Murugananthan. Minister Mr.Rauff Hakeem, parliamentarians Mr. Harris and Mr.Anwer Ismail and two others represented Muslims.
The Tamil delegation pointed out the urgent need of developing Tamil villages in the Amparai district. The Muslim delegation told Mr. Akashi about alleged extortion and kidnapping of Mualims taking place even in the present peace environment, sources said.
Mr. Akashi met an eleven member Tamil delegation led by parliamentarian Mr. A.Chandra Nehru at about 11.30 a.m. separately at the Kalmunai Methodist Church hall. Mr. Chandra Nehru brought to the notice of Mr. Akashi that several Tamil villages in the Amparai district had been destroyed in the war and wanted his assistance to rebuild those villages, enabling displaced people to resettle. No basic facility has been provided to the IDPs in Amparai district despite assurances by the government, he said.
Mr. Akashi later attended a conference held at the Ampara district secretariat, the sources said.