Statement by Mr. Masahiko Koumura, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Japan, on The Government of Sri Lanka’s withdrawal from the Ceasefire Agreement

January 4, 2008

On 3rd of January, the Government of Sri Lanka announced that they have decided to withdraw from the Ceasefire Agreement with the rebel organization, the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam reached in 2002.  The Government of Japan is deeply concerned that the decision taken by the Government of Sri Lanka may lead to the escalation of the conflict by way of increased level of violence and greater civilian casualties, and leave the peace process at a standstill.

Conflict in Sri Lanka cannot be solved by military means. The Government of Japan calls on the parties concerned to reach a solution not by violence but by political means through negotiation. The Government of Japan strongly hopes that necessary steps will be taken for the development of the peace process, such as early submission of a devolution package, in line with President Rajapaksa’s previous commitment. Japan continues to work on the peace process, cooperating with Co-Chairs of the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka--Norway, U.S., and EU.

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