Pirapaharan welcomes Japanese envoy, President cancels meeting

[TamilNet, Friday, 17 January 2003, 12:07 GMT]
Leader of Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), Velupillai Pirapaharan, sent his greetings through LTTE's political head, ThamilChelvan, to the visiting World bank Vice president, Ms Meiko Nishimizu, Special peace envoy of the Government of Japan, Mr.Yasushi Akashi, World Bank Country Director Mr. Peter Harold and other delegates to the meeting of the Sub Committee on Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation (SIHRN) which met in Kilinochchi, Voice of Tigers (VoT), reported in its late night broadcast yesterday.

"We are extremely happy that the Worl Bank has accepted the responsibility to manage the development funds ear-marked for NorthEast development.Our leader likes to convey his sincere gratitude and greetings to the World Bank officials and the Special envoy of the Japanese Government," Thamilchelvan has told the meeting delegates, VoT said.

Ms Meiko Nishimizu, World Bank Vice President for South Asia held discussion Thursday with Mr.S.P.Thamilselvan on the northeast donor funds for which the World Bank will function as the custodian. Mr. Peter Harold, Country Director of the World Bank in Sri Lanka also participated in the discussion, sources said.

Meanwhile, reports from Colombo said the President, Chandrika Kumaratunge has cancelled a meeting with Mr.Yasushi Akashi citing other political commitments.

Speaking to press persons at the headquarters of the LTTE political division in Killinochchi, Ms Meiko Nishimizu described what she witnessed in the north as the rapid pace of change. She said," You people have done amazing work."

She said on her first visit she had seen devastation of war in the north. But on a second trip things had improved fast.

Meanwhile Mr.Yasushi Akashi, special peace envoy of the Government of Japan said at the conclusion of the SIHRN meeting that the Japan's assistance has to be balanced and comprehensive to benefit entire Sri Lanka, particularly the northeast.

World Bank Vice President Ms Meiko Nishimizu said that many donors would contribute to develop the northeast. "We were asked by the LTTE and the Government of Sri Lanka to be the custodian of the funds given donors. Our aim is to serve all Sri Lankan people and solve their poverty. I wanted to see for myself the condition of the people."

This is why she is travelling overland to the north to see the ground level situation, she said.

Remarking on the resilience of the Vanni economy, World Bank Country Director in Sri Lanka Mr. Peter Harold said, "rice is growing."

Japanese special peace envoy Mr.Yasushi Akashi said the SIHRN discussed a number of programme areas, which have to be urgently addressed. "They (members of SIHRN) spoke about various concept papers," said Mr.Yasushi Akashi.

Referring to the SIHRN meeting Mr. Akashi told press persons "they spoke about various concept papers, which will be further amplified. There was sense of urgency to go ahead with many projects as possible to improve the livelihood of the people. There are number of procedures and criteria which have to be classified. They (SIHRN) are racing against time. Japan will be moving in the area of demining. It is the highest priority area. Demining work will be done with one Japanese non-governmental organization and two non Japanese NGOs. JAICA has some quick impact projects and grass root projects in mind. They (JAICO) have already done the need assessment survey. There are many (project) concepts. But these have to be defined. There are competing projects with limited amount of money."

At the conclusion of SIHRN meeting Mr. Thamilselvan, Head of the LTTE political section told press persons that a committee comprising representatives of UNHCR, LTTE and Government of Sri Lanka will start functioning soon. This committee will look into resettling internally displaced in areas occupied by the Sri Lanka Army outside the high security zones.

Mr. Thamilselvan further said,Japan is very keen on developing the northeast. Urgent humanitarian needs such as hospital and schools are to be addressed.

Mr.Thamilsevan said we have to make certain arrangement with the World Bank regarding the utilization of donor funds.

At the SIHRN meeting Messrs P.Madugoda, Mr.K.W.E.Karaliyedde, Dr.Hasbullah and Mr. Mohideen also attended as members of the GOS delegation led by Mr.Bernard Goonatilake.

Dr.Jay Maheswaran, Mr.V.Balakumar, Mr.E.Koushalyan, Head of the LTTE political section in the Batticaloa- Amparai district and Mr.S.Bawa, Political Head of the LTTE in Ampara division were also attendend the discussions as members of the LTTE delegation led by Mr. Thamilselvan.


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