New great opportunities for Lanka – Akashi

Implementing some sections of the LLRC recommendations will take time because they have to go through a political process and it is difficult to impose a time frame on such matters, Japan’s Special Representative to Sri Lanka Yasushi Akashi said yesterday.

“The experience of many nations which went through similar tragic situations is that reconciliation is very complex and time-consuming. Forgiveness and not forgetfulness has to be the primary requirement in the reconciliation process,” Akashi told the media in Colombo.

At a meeting yesterday morning with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Akashi expressed appreciation over the completion and release of the National Action Plan to implement the LLRC recommendations.

Sri Lanka is now moving towards new opportunities for peace and prosperity based on ethnic cooperation and unity, he said. “Japan will not impose anything upon Sri Lanka, but it is up to the people and the Government to take their own decisions with regard to addressing economic, political, social and psychological issues for national reconciliation,” Akashi told the media in Colombo.

The discussions were fruitful and President Rajapaksa expressed his commitment to the implementation of the Action Plan as well as the need for national reconciliation and economic development in Sri Lanka.

“Japan will continue to follow very closely the developments of national reconciliation to achieve lasting peace in Sri Lanka, and always as a close partner, will support Sri Lanka’s efforts towards peace building,” he said.

It is a great achievement that Sri Lanka has already resettled more than 90 percent of the displaced people, with the remaining to be resettled soon, he said. The stakeholders to the Parliamentary Select Committee should give their options to the committee before the final decisions are taken. There is always room for improvement through negotiations and flexible approaches are necessary for durable solutions, he said.

When the earthquake and tsunami hit Japan in March 2011, Sri Lanka lent its support and Japan too will be on Sri Lanka’s side at all times, he said.

Akashi also visited Jaffna and Kilinochchi and exchanged views with leaders of religious and civil societies in Jaffna. He held discussions with displaced people who have now been resettled and with ex-LTTE cadre. Compared to his past visits, improvements were more visible in the North, he said.

by P. Krishnaswamy


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