June 7, 2009 (AFP) – Japan will send a special envoy to Sri Lanka this week to discuss the plight of nearly 300,000 Tamil civilians displaced by recent fighting, diplomats said Sunday.
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Japan, Sri Lanka’s largest single aid donor, was sending Yasushi Akashi on a three-day visit starting Monday to assess Colombo’s moves to re-settle the war-displaced civilians, a diplomat said.
The Japanese embassy said he was also due to meet government and opposition politicians to examine national reconciliation efforts after last month’s defeat of Tamil separatists.
Akashi will “discuss the progress of assistance to and resettlement of internally displaced persons as well as progress of political process for national reconciliation,” an embassy spokesman said.
Akashi helped raise pledges of 4.5 billion dollars in aid in June 2003 for Sri Lanka’s Norwegian-backed peace process which came to an end with the collapse of the Oslo-brokered truce in January 2008.
Sri Lanka launched an all-out offensive against Tamil Tigers after pulling out of the truce and last month declared that it had eliminated the leadership of the separatist Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).