Wednesday, 21 January 2004  
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Japan will not interfere - Akashi

by Ranga Jayasuriya

Japanese special peace envoy Yasushi Akashi arriving in Colombo yesterday on a week long visit told the media that he will not interfere with the internal politics of the country. He however added that he will share "certain thoughts" with the "relevant parties" in a bid to end the political impasse.

Akashi will chair the follow-up meeting to the Tokyo Donor Conference on Reconstruction and Development in Sri Lanka on Friday (23).

"We will not interfere with the current political impasse in Sri Lanka," he said, adding that it is up to Sri Lankan leaders to iron out their differences.

Akashi will meet President Chandrika Bandaranaike Kumaratunga, Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the Government peace delegation.

He will travel to Kilinochchi to meet the LTTE leadership on Wednesday. He will also meet representatives from the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and the Tamil National Alliance (TNA). On Friday, he is expected to chair the donor meeting, where the donor assistance promised at the Tokyo Donor Conference in June last year will be reviewed in the backdrop of the political developments.

The Tokyo Declaration signed by around 50 donor countries and agencies have linked donor assistance with the progress in peace talks. Japan made the biggest financial contribution at this meeting.

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