The Japan-Sri Lanka Summit Meeting

December 10, 2007

Prime Minister Fukuda held a meeting with Mr. Mahinda Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka, for about one hour from 6 p.m. on December 10. Following is an outline of the meeting.

1. Peace process / human rights issue of Sri Lanka

(1) Mr. Fukuda said that achieving peace in Sri Lanka was essential for further strengthening the two countries’ relationship and that it was important to achieve a solution not by using force but by political steps.  He also said it was also important to produce a devolution package under the President’s strong leadership and propose it to all the parties concerned including the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) as soon as possible so that the devolution package would present the basis of political dialogue among them.  In response, Mr. Rajapaksa said that All Party Representative Committee was working on the devolution package to produce it as soon as possible, and that the Government of Sri Lanka was committed to political solution and believed that using force would not be an alternative to political solution.  He also said that although the LTTE had been reluctant to participate in negotiations so far, the Government of Sri Lanka was ready to hold talks with them if they would participate in a faithful manner.

(2) Mr. Fukuda said the Government of Japan planned to dispatch Mr. Yasushi Akashi, representative of the Government of Japan, to Sri Lanka to urge LTTE leaders to make serious efforts for the peace process.  In response, Mr. Rajapaksa said he was ready to cooperate with him and highly evaluated the role played by Mr. Akashi.

(3) Regarding the human rights issue in Sri Lanka, Mr. Fukuda said that he expected efforts by the Government of Sri Lanka itself to improve the human rights situation in the country.  In response, Mr. Rajapaksa said the Government of Sri Lanka had already been making efforts to improve the human rights situation including the establishment of a human rights investigation commission, and would like the international community to support such efforts.  Mr. Fukuda said he would like the commission to make efforts to produce concrete results.

(4) Mr. Rajapaksa expressed gratitude for Japan’s assistance for the past 40 years through ODA for the development of Sri Lanka and said that he would like Japan to continue its assistance for peace and development.  Mr. Fukuda stated that Japan would continue to cooperate for the consolidation of peace and the economic development of Sri Lanka, but as the peace process was not in progress, it had not been able to extend much assistance.  Japan would like to see improvement so that it can provide sufficient assistance.  As for the development in the Eastern Province of Sri Lanka, Mr. Fukuda said it was important to thoroughly enforce law and order and reflect the will of each ethnic group, and, while doing so, produce early dividends of peace.

2. Bilateral Relations

(1) Mr. Rajapaksa invited Mr. Fukuda to visit Sri Lanka, to Mr. Fukuda responded he would consider the invitation carefully.

(2) Economic relations

Mr. Fukuda suggested setting up a Public-Private Joint Forum, to which Mr. Rajapaksa agreed.

(3) Cultural relations and human exchange

Mr. Fukuda expressed his expectation that Japanese people would deepen their understanding of Sri Lanka through “the Exhibition of Sri Lankan Heritage” to be held in Japan, and told the President that Mr. Ikuo Hirayama would visit Sri Lanka next year.  He also stated that in the coming five years he wanted to invite 500 young Sri Lankans including those from ethnic groups in the eastern part of the country.

3.  Local and International Issues

(1) Climate change

Mr. Fukuda expressed his gratitude toward Sri Lanka’s support of the “Cool Earth 50” concept and sought for Sri Lanka’s approval of Japan’s proposal at the Bali Conference to establish a universal forum for negotiations.  Mr. Rajapaksa said that he would examine the possibility of support.

(2) North Korean issues

After stating that Japan had been addressing the issues concerning North Korea, Prime Minister Fukuda explained especially the importance of resolving the abduction issue as soon as possible.  In response to this, the Sri Lankan side said that it would like to cooperate with Japan’s efforts on the abduction issue.

(3) United Nations Security Council reform

Mr. Fukuda requested Sri Lanka’s continuous support for Japan’s becoming a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, and Mr. Rajapaksa expressed his support for it.

(END)


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