Japanese envoy to meet Sri Lankan, Tamil leadership on rebuilding funds

A Japanese special envoy is due to arrive here this week for talks with the Sri Lankan president and senior rebels on the risk of losing foreign aid by delaying the peace process, diplomats said Monday. A Japanese special envoy is due to arrive here this week for talks with the Sri Lankan president and senior rebels on the risk of losing foreign aid by delaying the peace process, diplomats said Monday.

Yasushi Akashi, the Japanese government representative for reconstruction in Sri Lanka, is scheduled to arrive Wednesday and discuss the stalled peace initiative which is led by Oslo with financial support from Tokyo.

Akashi is expected to discuss the status of 4.5 billion dollars in aid pledged by international donors in June 2003 to rebuild the island if peace talks are successful, Japanese diplomats said.

“He will try to nudge the parties back to the table,” a diplomat close to the peace process said. “He will also stress that delays are not encouraging donors and there must be forward movement in the peace front.”

Akashi had linked the release of international aid to progress in the peace process that remains on hold since the Tigers suspended their participation in direct talks in Ap