Akashi to commence Sri Lanka visit Thursday

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 10 September 2003, 19:09 GMT]
The Japanese special peace envoy to Sri Lanka, Mr.Yasushi Akashi, will arrive in Colombo on a six-day visit Thursday. He will stay in Sri Lanka until September 16 and hold discussions with several political leaders regarding the present stalled peace process between the Government of Sri Lanka and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, political sources said.

The main aim of his visit is to preside over a conference on Friday in Colombo to decide the criteria for allocating funds pledged at the Tokyo donors conference held in June.

The LTTE has also been invited to attend this conference. However, it is unlikely that the LTTE would participate at the Colombo conference Friday before finalizing their interim administration proposal, sources said.

In a statement Wednesday, the LTTE’s peace secretariat said that it had received an invitation from the Japanese Embassy in Colombo to attend the meeting with Mr. Akashi, but the LTTE expressed inability to attend, saying that it did not attend the Tokyo Conference based on the dictates of the collective Tamil conscience, and the conditions that prevailed at the time of the Tokyo conference have not changed “in any manner enabling the organization to participate in the follow-up meeting.”

“The lack of an effective structure to receive and disburse the funds meant for resettlement, reconstruction and development, was the sole reason for the organization to opt for an interim administrative structure, which alone,” the LTTE said, “can effectively deal with the process.”

While in Colombo, Mr. Akashi will hold discussions with the President, Ms. Chandrika Kumaratunge, her international advisor Mr.Lakshman Kadirgamar, Prime Minister Mr.Ranil Wickremasinghe, Ministers G.L.Peiris and Milinda Morogoda, sources said

Mr. Akashi will also meet the leaders of Muslims in the eastern province, including the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress leader and Minister Mr.Rauff Hakeem, the sources added.

Mr. Akashi is expected to meet the LTTE political wing leaders at the Kilinochchi peace secretariat on September 14, and the LTTE said it would clarify its position at that meeting.

Before leaving Sri Lanka, Mr. Akashi is to hold a press briefing on September 15, media sources said.


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