|Saturday, 28 August 2004|
'We do not support separation' - Japanese envoy:
Int'l community for peaceful, united Lanka
by Bharatha Malawaraarachchi
Japan and the international community are fully committed to a peaceful solution within a united Sri Lanka, reiterated Japanese Ambassador Akio Suda yesterday stressing the necessity for the early resumption of peace talks.
"We are not supporting separation," the ambassador told a media interview organised to inform the media about the outcome of his recent visit to Kilinochchi and Batticaloa.
However, Ambassador Suda said it was essential to resume the peace talks early. "The important thing is to resume peace talks," noted Suda who met several LTTE leaders, senior army officials, representatives of the SLMM and a member of Parliament during this visit.
During his discussion with the LTTE's Political Wing Chief S.P. Thamil Selvam, Suda had explained that Japan which was largely supporting the reconstruction of the North was seriously concerned about the delay in resuming peace talks.
Referring to killings taking place in the East and Colombo, Suda said it was a great concern for Japan and the international community.
"Nobody can say it is an internal matter of Sri Lanka since such killings affect democracy. This should not be allowed as political killings should not be treated as an internal matter," added the Ambassador stressing the necessity to speak out against such incidents.
In response to Ambassador's Suda's query, Thamil Selvam had said that all such incidents take place in Government controlled areas.
"But they did not point a finger at any particular party," added Suda.
"I told Thamil Selvam that such killings tarnish the image of Sri Lanka and it would certainly affect the tourism industry too," added Suda while saying that the matter will be discussed among USA, Norway and EU which are Co-chairs of the Tokyo Declaration.
During his discussion, Ambassador Suda had also pointed out the importance of Oslo Agreement which focuses on a federal solution. "He understood the point and his response was not negative regarding the Oslo agreement," Suda said while declining to reveal the whole discussion.
"However, in response, Thamil Selvam said that LTTE is committed to a peaceful solution. They said their problem was the different statements made by various parties in the South. The LTTE said such statements confuse them."
Referring to concerns raised by Ambassador Suda on the recruitment of child soldiers, Selvam had said that such incidents are taking place in Government controlled areas and that children come to the LTTE as they have no place to go.
Referring to a question on the future commitment and possible steps by Japan towards Sri Lanka's peace process, the Ambassador said they were watching the situation.
A question posed by a journalist on the LTTE's push for ISGA and resumption of talks, Suda said: "I think there is some misunderstanding regarding the ISGA. However, the important thing is to resume peace talks."
Ambassador Suda who refrained from criticising or praising the SLMM explained, "I am not saying that I am satisfied or not with the role played by the SLMM. But they are doing a very difficult job."
He said he would exchange information with other Co-chairs on his recent visit to Kilinochchi.
Produced by Lake House