GL briefs Akashi on reconciliation process


External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L Peiris recently held bilateral discussions with Yasushi Akashi, the Special Representative of the Japanese Government. Having thanked Akashi for attending the opening ceremony of the Southern Expressway, which was built with financial assistance from the Japanese Government, Prof. Peiris briefed the veteran diplomat on the developments in Sri Lanka, particularly on the reconciliation process that is currently underway. In this regard, the External Affairs Minister informed him that the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) report had been handed over to the President and would be tabled in Parliament in the near future.

"Sri Lanka wants to use this opportunity of peace achieved after thirty years of conflict to move forward" Prof. Peiris said. The Minister spoke of the post conflict development process currently underway with emphasis on reconciliation and political empowerment of all communities. The economic development that was happening in the North and the East, the resettlement of nearly 300,000 displaced persons and normalisation of their livelihoods, holding of local government elections and the emergence of political enthusiasm in the former conflict zone, restoration of the civil administration and the trilingual policy of the Government are also part of the reconciliation process and needs due consideration. In this regard Prof. Peiris said that Sri Lanka deserves to be given the appropriate time and space to mitigate the painful effects of prolonged conflict and implement a meaningful reconciliation process.

Akashi acknowledged the ‘super human’ efforts made by the Sri Lankan Government to deal with the sudden influx of IDP’s towards the final stages of the conflict and their eventual resettlement. He also assured that Japan would be a continuous partner in the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the former conflict zone and the economic development of the whole of Sri Lanka. "Even while Japan may face tough economic conditions at home our development assistance to Sri Lanka will not be curtailed" he said.

Acting Secretary of External Affairs W. M. Seneviratne, Sri Lanka’s Ambassador to Japan Admiral (Rtd) Wasantha Karannagoda, other Ministry officials, Japanese Ambassador Nobuhito Hobo and Embassy officials were present.

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