Akashi assures UNP (D) of continued support to Sri Lanka
A delegation of UNP (Democratic Group) that met visiting Japanese
peace envoy Yasushi Akashi Friday evening at the Japanese embassy
discussed elimination of terrorism, restoration of peace and normal life
in the north and east, political settlement of the Tamil problem and HR
situation in the island, said Dr. Rajitha Senaratne, Minister of
Engineering Services and Construction. He told the Sunday Observer that
the 90-minute discussion their four-member delegation had with the
Japanese envoy was centered on the ongoing military operations to
eliminate terrorism, restoration of democracy in the war-torn areas,
recognition of the political aspirations and rights of the affected
people and HR situation and a political package by way of a lasting
solution to the Tamil problem.
Minister Rajitha said that their delegation led by Parliamentary
Affairs Minister M.H. Mohamed included himself and Ministers Mano
Wijeratne, Minister Dharmadasa Banda and Senior Civil Servant Kumar
Abeysinghe and the Japanese envoy was accompanied by Ambassador Kiyoshi
Araki and two senior diplomats.
Minister Mohamed delegated him to speak on behalf of the delegation
and he mainly spoke on the dire need for eliminating terrorism from the
face of the country, restoring democracy, provision of all basic needs
of the affected people, recognition of their right to govern themselves
and undertake development activities and political settlement of the
Tamil problem, Minister Rajitha said. He also handed over to the peace
envoy a copy of their peace proposal which was submitted to the All
Party Representative Committee (APRC).
In fact the meeting was arranged as desired by the visiting peace
envoy whom he had met eight months ago in Tokyo and held a 90-minute
discussion on the Sri Lankan situation, Rajitha said.
"Akashi insisted on free and fair elections after liberation of the
entire Northern province unlike in the east where incidents were
reported during elections. But the precarious situation that prevailed
in the east during the polls due to the reason that the LTTE was on a
killing spree and other armed groups were permitted to carry arms for
their self-defence was explained to him. The fact that several TMVP
members and supporters were killed by the LTTE was apprised to him.
"When the question of human rights came up we pointed out that HR
situation had somewhat deteriorated due to the presence of well-equipped
armed group that was posing threat to law and order situation, lives of
civilians, political leaders and others. It was explained that the
situation would very much improve after the total elimination of
"We appreciated the point of view expressed by the peace envoy that
any political solution should be acceptable to the Tamil diaspora spread
throughout the world so that they will themselves come here, bring
investors and extend their support and cooperation towards prosperity
and peace in the country.
"We explained the fact that the poor people of the affected areas are
not interested in power devolution but want only improvement to their
living condition, development of their respective areas, infrastructure,
educational facilities to their children and ways and means of eking out
a decent living and, on the contrary it is the middle and upper middle
class families among them are the ones who seek power devolution. It was
also explained that once LTTE terrorism was eliminated democracy and
freedom of the people of the war-torn areas will emerge automatically.
We cited examples of post-war Japan and Germany that rose as exemplary
democracies and super powers.
"Japan's continued support towards promoting trade, tourism,
investment and aid was assured at the meeting."