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Akashi congratulates Govt. assures more support
... says Japan happy about Lanka’s human rights situation

Ambassador Yasushi Akashi, Japan’s Special Envoy for Peace Building, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction in Sri Lanka, congratulated the Lankan Government on the giant strides it had made to attain peace. He recalled the speech of a former Sri Lankan President, J. R. Jayewardene at the 1951 San Francisco Treaty after the Second World War that prompted Japan to be generously supportive of Sri Lanka in the spheres of economic, political and diplomatic development.

Akashi, who was on his 20th visit to the country assured Prof. Peiris of Japan’s continued assistance and aid.

Addressing a media briefing yesterday, Akashi, who arrived in the country on Tuesday (June 15), said that aid must be distributed efficiently.

He said Yen 39 billion had been pledged in March for the year 2010 for the development of the North and East of Sri Lanka.

He said: "Besides the North and East, the requirements of the South and Central Parts of the country will not be neglected. Japan is happy about the democratic and human rights situation in Sri Lanka. I am also delighted with the setting up of the Reconciliation Commission with the ultimate aim achieving unity among all communities."

Akashi said that he had also discussed with Prof. Peiris the possibility of the UN helping Sri Lanka with the reconciliation process as they (the UN) had the experience in this type of matter in South Africa, East Timor and many other African countries.

He was of the opinion that he could go into detail about the UN’s role in the reconciliation process as it was a sensitive area. He said that Japan had always helped Sri Lanka and its aid of Yen 39 billion was meant mostly for medium and small scale industries, irrigation dams, schools and education, fisheries, medical assistance including the strengthening of the Jaffna Hospital, Roads, Highways, bridges and other infrastructure facilities.

Akashi will meet the minority political parties including the TNA and EPDP, Human Rights NGOs and some Muslim organisations but not Muslim parties.

On the War Crimes allegations, Akashi, said that Japan was happy with the process of transparency and appreciated the initiatives taken by the Sri Lanka government, which was discussed and explained by Prof. Peiris.

Prof. Peiris said that Sri Lanka had entirely rejected the War Crimes allegations.

He, too, touched on the San Francisco speech by a J. R. Jayewardene in 1951 and Japan’s continued assistance ever since. He said that he had briefed Ambassador Akashi on the events in Sri Lanka since his last visit to the country in July 2009.

Minister Peiris also said that he had appraised Akashi of the progress in the resettlement of the IDPs which, he said, was a top of the priority of the government.

The Minister said he had also briefed Akashi on the doing away with certain aspects of the emergency regulation, the Reconciliation Commission, and the government’s talks with TNA, EPDP and other minority groups. He also said that President Mahinda Rajapaksa was determined to bring about a just and fair political solution to the satisfaction of all communities. He paid tribute to Japan’s assistance for Sri Lanka over the years.

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