Sri Lanka truce, foreign aid under threat, Japan warns

Sri Lanka faces a “critical period” in its faltering peace process and failure to cut a deal with Tiger rebels over tsunami relief could jeopardise foreign aid prospects, a top Japanese envoy said Saturday. Sri Lanka faces a “critical period” in its faltering peace process and failure to cut a deal with Tiger rebels over tsunami relief could jeopardise foreign aid prospects, a top Japanese envoy said Saturday. Tokyo’s special peace envoy to Sri Lanka, Yasushi Akashi, was speaking here ahead of an international donors’ meeting Monday in the central town of Kandy to review assistance to the island.

He said the no-war, no-peace situation in the nation since a February 2002 truce did not spell lasting peace for Sri Lanka.

The failure to clinch a deal between the Colombo government and the rebel Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) over the disbursement of tsunami relief funds was a big blow to the country, Akashi added.

“The breakdown of negotiations … leading to the establishment of a joint mechanism will be a major blow to all concerned, particularly to the Sri Lankan people who have every right to expect speedy delivery of aid,” Akashi said.

Colombo is looking to firm up two billi