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Japan seeks transparency in Sri Lanka after war

[TamilNet, Wednesday, 16 June 2010 11:28 No Comment]

-98Y8TD7oQ A visiting Japanese envoy said Wednesday that Sri Lanka must ensure an open and fair process to address grievances of minority Tamils after the end of the civil war last year.

Yasushi Akashi, whose country is the largest national donor to Sri Lanka, said a planned reconciliation commission must be "transparent and comprehensible" if it is to secure a prosperous future for the island.

Government forces defeated Tamil Tiger separatist rebels in May last year, but Sri Lanka remains divided as it emerges from decades of ethnic conflict.

"We are watching how the reconciliation commission will proceed," Akashi told reporters in Colombo when asked about international calls for an independent investigation into the final phase of the war.

Sri Lanka has denied any civilians were killed during the offensive against the rebels that ended the conflict.

However, the United Nations estimated that at least 7,000 Tamil civilians were killed in the final four months of fighting.

In total, an estimated 100,000 people died during the long-running conflict with the Tigers, who had fought for a separate homeland for minority Tamils since the 1970s.

"We categorically reject an international probe," Sri Lanka’s External Affairs Minister Gamini Lakshman Peiris said at the press conference with Akashi.

"We expect our reconciliation commission to address all issues to the conflict as part of our healing process."

Akashi said he had raised the issue of involving the United Nations in Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process with Peiris.

Akashi’s visit coincides with trips to Sri Lanka by two advisers to US President Barack Obama and top UN envoy Lynn Pascoe.

[Full Coverage]

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