CBK snubs Japan: refuses statement backing confab
by Shamindra Ferdinando
Wickremesinghes government expects up to US $ 3 billion from donors and international lending agencies over a three-year period to implement a rapid development programme covering the entire country.
"The request was made through her advisor Lakshman Kadirgamar, MP," the sources said.
"The Japanese were of the view that whatever the differences, the two parties should have made a joint appeal for international assistance," the sources said.
The conference hosts desired a video message from the president. It was to be telecast before Wickremesinghes speech scheduled to be delivered immediately after Japanese Premier Junichiro Koizumi delivers his speech opening the two-day meeting beginning on Monday. The presidents office yesterday confirmed her decision not to issue a statement in Tokyo.
Her refusal came as the Tigers reiterated their decision to boycott the Tokyo meeting. The president has publicly criticised the Japanese for making a strong bid to persuade the Tigers to take part in the conference, co-chaired by Japan, the US, and Norway.
Earlier she cancelled a meeting with the Japanese special envoy Yasushi Akashi to register her protest against a deeper Japanese role in the Oslo-led peace process.
The president also refused to meet with Wickremesinghe before he left for Tokyo early Friday. The premier sought a meeting with the president ahead of his departure to brief her of the forthcoming meeting, the sources said. But the president snubbed him, the sources said.
"She was of the view that there was no point in a meeting as the government and the Japanese have decided on everything," they said.
The premiers refusal to print her May 8 dated notification on the take-over of the Development Lotteries Board (DLB) and the assassination of M. K. Ranjith alias Chandi Malli on June 1 also contributed to the presidents decision not to meet with the premier, PA sources said.
The president also avoided last weeks cabinet meeting, the sources said. She rarely attended these weekly meetings.
"The president will not have anything to do with the Tokyo conference," the sources said. But the government is confident that despite the setback of the absence of the Tigers and the presidents cold shoulder, the conference will be a success.
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