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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 104

Japan offers US$17 million in grants-in-aid to Sri Lanka

Tokyo, 12 December, ( Japan's Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda said on Monday that Tokyo would continue to offer economic assistance to Sri Lanka despite the suspension of some U.S. and British aid this year over alleged human rights abuses related to the ongoing armed conflict in Sri Lanka.

Mr. Fukuda said this when speaking to reporters alongside visiting Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse after the two leaders held talks. Japan Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda welcomed Sri Lanka President  Mahinda Rajapakse at Japanese Prime Ministers office.Japan Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda welcomed Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse at Japanese Prime Ministers office.

Japan's Kyodo news agency reported yesterday, that Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura told President Rajapakse that Japan would approve 1.9 billion yen ($17 million) in grants-in-aid to Sri Lanka next week.

"I conveyed to the President, Japan's intention to cooperate for peace in Sri Lanka as well as economic development," Fukuda told reporters.

As a member of the Co-Chairs seeking to assist in a negotiated solution to the Sri Lankan conflict, Japan has played an active role in trying to revive the peace process in Sri Lanka.

Japan's Special Envoy to the Sri Lankan Peace Process, Mr. Yasushi Akashi, has said earlier that Japan did not view the human rights situation in Sri Lanka the same way as the countries of the West did, and that the main interest of Japan was to assist in bringing about peace in the country.

The Sri Lanka President and Japan Prime Minister addressing a press conference (pix: Sudath Silva)The Sri Lanka President and Japan Prime Minister addressing a press conference (pix: Sudath Silva)

Given below the Joint Communiqué‚ issued by Prime Minister of Japan Yasuo Fukuda and Mahinda Rajapakse, President of Sri Lanka.

The Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda extending his good wishes to Sri Lanka, stated that it was the wish of Japan that Sri Lanka establishes peace in the near future and along with it the development of the country.

Peace and development should go hand in hand for a country to realize the full potential of its development and for this reason it was heartening that the rays of peace were descending on the country making it realize the essence of development, he said. He also expressed that he was happy to see a strong, reliable and far thinking visionary leadership in President Mahinda Rajapakse. He further stated Japan would not hesitate to come to Sri Lanka's continued assistance as a long standing friend of the country.

The Japanese Prime Minister stated that already large scale development projects were seeing the light of day in Sri Lanka and Japan was happy about the cooperation between the two countries in this context.

The visit of the Sri Lankan President to Japan he felt was a step forward in strengthening the friendly ties between the two countries, he further observed.

He emphasized that Japan focused its attention on world's natural disasters and man made ones such as terrorism and said that Japan was committed to its elimination. He was happy that on matters of world peace Sri Lanka and Japan shared the same views.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapakse thanked Japan for standing steadfastly by Sri Lanka on achieving peace and the development of the country.

Sri Lanka in its turn was rejecting full-scale war but was combating terrorism and was on the look out for a peaceful settlement to the existing conflict, he said.

Sri Lanka is a country that has always safe guarded Human Rights and will remain so in the future protecting democracy and human rights unreservedly, President Rajapakse said.

Though official diplomatic relations were first established only in 1951, Sri Lanka and Japan have always maintained close religious and cultural links, he said. Through this visit to Japan these links have been further strengthened, mentioned the President.

The President also said that Sri Lanka hopes to advance technologically and appreciated the support and expertise extended by Japan. In addition Sri Lanka hopes cooperate with Japan on matters of mutual interest in the spheres of commerce and economic and social relations.

Japan Special Peace envoy Yashusi Akashi and Foreign Minister Rothitha Bogollagama were also present during the discussion.

- Asian Tribune -

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