Foreign Minister tells Akashi:
Revise Co-Chairs’ role
‘Not inscribed in stone’, responds Akashi:
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama
with Japanese Special Envoy Yashushi Akashi. Picture by
Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama in a discussion with visiting
Japanese Special Envoy Yashushi Akashi yesterday noted that there was a
need to revise the role of the Co-Chairs in the light of the current
developments in the country.
Tracing the history of the Co-Chairs to the Tokyo Conference in June
2003, the Minister stressed the need to broaden the agenda and a
shifting the focus to a more development oriented outlook in the
post-conflict phase that Sri Lanka has entered.
Since the present composition of the Co-Chairs did not reflect the
spirit of partnership and cooperation that Sri Lanka had envisaged,
there was a need to review the status of the Co-Chairs and seek a fresh
and broader engagement with “Development Partners” who would support a
truly people oriented Sri Lankan agenda, the Minister said.
Special Envoy Akashi responding favourably to the suggestion had
stressed the importance of breaking new ground and not being tied down
to the past, adding that the role of the Co-Chairs was not “inscribed in
He noted that the Co-Chairs was merely an informal grouping and
expressed the hope that more countries would be invited so that they
could contribute to the economic development agenda of Sri Lanka.
Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris, who participated in the discussions,
while endorsing the Foreign Minister’s observations, pointed out that
there was a widespread popular perception in the country that the Peace
Process that had been initiated with the signing of the CFA in February
2002, had been exceedingly donor driven and that it had been imposed on