Statement of Mr. Tetsuro Yano, Senior Vice-Minister of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan, on the occasion of visit to Jaffna

August 3, 2003

  1. This morning, I visited an IDP camp and returnees' village in Jaffna, and I keenly felt the acute sufferings and pains inflicted on the people due to the ravages of the twenty-year conflict. Since I heard that the city of Jaffna used to enjoy its prosperity as the center of the Tamil Culture, its current devastation wrung my heart. Faced with the ground situation, I fully realized the need to support urgently those who are suffering the hardships and to reconstruct a prosperous society as it used to be.
  2. This view is widely shared by the international community. At the Tokyo Conference on Reconstruction of Development of Sri Lanka on June 9 and 10 , the international community demonstrated its willingness to extend assistance to a cumulative amount, in excess of US $ 4.5 billion over the four year period, 2003-2006. This reflected strong and unified commitment to the peace in Sri Lanka as well as to the reconstruction and development of the country. Japan is prepared to extend up to US $ 1 billion over the next three years.
  3. At the same time, in order to achieve a durable peace and reconstruct a prosperous society, it is essential for the people of Sri Lanka to reconcile with each other by overcoming the differences in their ethnicities or communities. For the promotion of such efforts, it was agreed that assistance by the donor community must be closely linked to substantial and parallel progress in the peace process. In order to achieve such substantial progress, peace talks should be resumed in the first place. I am concerned that peace talks have not been resumed even after almost two months have passed since the Tokyo Conference. I urge the LTTE to return to peace talks as soon as possible. With respect to the issue of the establishment of an interim administrative structure for the North and East which the LTTE brought up, I hope that the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE will soon reach an agreement acceptable to the both parties through constructive negotiations.
  4. Despite the current situation, Japan will continue to extend immediate humanitarian assistance in the North and East, in line with international community. As a part of such assistance, it is my pleasure to announce that Japan has decided to extend approximately US $2.6 million to the UNICEF for the improvement of maternal and child health care. As a traditional friend of Sri Lanka, Japan is determined to continue making its utmost effort in contributing to the reconstruction and development of Sri Lanka as well as the promotion of the peace process, in accordance with principles of the "Tokyo Declaration on Reconstruction and Development of Sri Lanka" .

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