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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 Sudath Nishantha

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 stone”.

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 the people.

 

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