Akashi offers Japanese good offices to improve SL's international relations



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by Steve. A. Morrell


At a breakfast meeting with President Mahinda Rajapaksa yesterday, senior diplomat Yasushi Akashi who was here since Tuesday as representative of the Government of Japan expressed Japan's willingness to ``assist in the efforts to develop relationship between Sri Lanka and the international community.''


Akashi who was here on his 25th visit served as Japan's special envoy during the peace process. He is visiting New Delhi on his way back home to brief the Indians on his Sri Lanka visit and also participate in an event commemorating 60 years of diplomatic relations between Japan and India.


During his stay here, Akashi traveled to the North and also met with President Rajapaksa, Ministers, the Leader of the Opposition, TNA leader R. Sampanthan, President's Secretary Lalith Weeratunge and others including ex-IDPs and ex-LTTE cadres with whom he discussed the conditions of their lives.


He had also met with religious organizations and civil society in Jaffna and Kilinochchi.


``When compared with my past visits, the improvement was much more visible to me in the North. I was pleased to see the tremendous efforts made by the Government and people of Sri Lanka,'' he said at a news briefing held yesterday at the Japanese ambassador's residence.


He said that national reconciliation required ``constant attention'' and it was useful to discuss further necessary efforts with stakeholders.


At his meeting with the president, he had welcomed the completion and release of the action plan. They had a fruitful discussion on the need for monitoring and reviewing the implementation of recommendations.


``The president in response expressed his commitment for the implementation of the action plan as well as the need for national reconciliation and economic development in Sri Lanka,'' Akashi said.


``I reiterated the need to take effective measures for the action plan and demonstrate visible outcomes to the international community, as scheduled. To this end I mentioned that the Government of Japan was willing to assist in the effort to develop relationship between Sri Lanka and the international community.''


 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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