Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Japan committed to Sri Lanka

Lars Bleyman, a member of Sri Lanka Monitoring Mission (SLMM), packs up office belongings in preparation to winding up operations, in Colombo on Monday.

COLOMBO: The Special Peace Envoy of Japan, Yasushi Akashi, on Monday pledged his country’s continuing commitment to Sri Lanka and to extending economic assistance, in his discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Mr. Akashi is in Sri Lanka to study developments following the government’s decision to abrogate the Cease Fire Agreement with the LTTE and to apprise Colombo of the Japanese government’s stance vis-À-vis the latest developments.

According to official sources, Mr. Akashi expressed Japan’s satisfaction at the efforts made by Mr. Rajapaksa to reach a consensus on arriving at a negotiated solution to the ethnic question.

On the occasion of Pongal, Mr. Rajapaksa greeted the Tamils in the nation and expressed the hope that peace and greater trust would prevail in the coming year.

“In observing the traditions of Thai Pongal, the Hindus of Sri Lanka will show their commitment to protecting a rich cultural heritage, and in keeping with the spirit of revival and rededication that is part of this festival, they will also look to the future with hope and optimism, shared by all people of our country”, Mr. Rajapaksa said.

Meanwhile, at least two soldiers and a home guard were killed in a claymore explosion triggered by suspected cadres of the LTTE in Vavuniya even as the Air Force claimed to have pounded an LTTE “intelligence hideout” in Mullaittivu.

The Hindu