of reply - Japan on Rs. 35 m to LTTE
The Sunday Times
front page lead story last week headlined 'LTTE gets Rs 35m Japan
aid," has drawn the attention of Nagashima Shinji, First Secretary
& Press). He writes:
has noted with much regret the headline news item published in your
newspaper on the 26th January 2003 entitled 'LTTE gets Rs. 35m Japan
aid", reported by your Diplomatic Correspondent and wish to
inform you that the said news item is totally false and groundless.
are very well aware, Japan has come forward to support the peace
process particularly in the area of reconstruction and rehabilitation
of the North and East and has appointed Mr. Yasushi Akashi as the
Special Representative of the Government of Japan to support the
rehabilitation and reconstruction of the North and East. It was
during the recent meeting of the Sub-Committee for Immediate Humanitarian
and Rehabilitation Needs in the North and East (SIHRN) in Kilinochchi
that Mr. Akashi has stated that Japan has approved the utilization
of the counterpart fund generated by Japan's Food Production Grant
Aid amounting to a sum of Rs. 35.23 million to be utilized for the
establishment of the Secretariat of this Sub-Committee which as
you very well know is not an LTTE Secretariat but a joint Secretariat
of the Sub-Committee appointed by the chief negotiators Government
of Sri Lanka and the LTTE during the recent peace talks in Thailand
for the sole purpose of co-ordinating the rehabilitation and reconstruction
efforts in the North and East.
release has been issued by the Embassy categorically denying this
news item mentioned above while at the same time explaining the
correct position as regards the fund to be utilized for the said
be grateful if you would give equally prominent publicity to this
Press Release in your very next issue of the Sunday Times, so that
your readers and the international community at large may know the
truth about this matter, which I am sure is the primary intention
of your newspaper at all times."
The press release
1. In response
to the request made by the Government of Sri Lanka, the Government
of Japan decided to approve the utilization of the fund amounting
to Rs 35.23 million for the support of the Secretariat of SIHRN
(Sub Committee on Immediate Humanitarian Relief Needs in the North
and East). The Fund is to be used for the purchase of required office
furniture, office equipment and transportation facilities needed
for the Secretariat's activities. Furthermore, the fund is released
from the counterpart fund of the Government of Sri Lanka, generated
by Japan's Food Production Grant Aid.
2. The Sub-Committee
for Immediate Humanitarian and Rehabilitation Needs in the North
and East (SIHRN) was in fact established jointly by the negotiators
of the Government of Sri Lanka and the LTTE at the first and second
round of talks held in Thailand last year for the primary purpose
of "identifying humanitarian and reconstruction needs of the
population and prioritize implementation of activities to meet these
needs." Currently the Sub-Committee is composed of Mr. Bernard
Goonetilleke, Director General, SCOPP and others from the Government
of Sri Lanka and Mr. Tamilselvan and others from the LTTE. This
Secretariat is, therefore, not an LTTE Secretariat but a joint Secretariat
formed for the sole purpose of co-ordinating the rehabilitation
and reconstruction efforts in the North and East for which Japan
has pledged its fullest support.
It has been
customary in the past for the Embassy of Japan to make prompt official
announcements through news releases whenever aid or other forms
of assistance is granted by their Government.
If there was
no such announcement in respect of the latest aid amounting to Rs
35. 23 million, the Embassy's assertion that The Sunday Times news
item is "totally false and groundless," underscores not
only the high degree of discomfiture the report has generated but
also the distinctly futile attempt to prove the report as being
totally wrong. More so when the embassy's press release unreservedly
confirms the contents of the report itself.
Times report said the money , i.e. Rs 35 million, is for "the
purchase of computers, furniture etc." The embassy press release
confirms that a fund amounting Rs. 35.23 million (Rs 230,000 more
than the amount reported) "is to be used for the purchase of
required office furniture, office equipment and transportation facilities
needed for the Secretariat's activities."
the two main elements in the news report that a sum of Rs 35 million
(or a little more) has been provided for office furniture or office
equipment as stated in The Sunday Times. Furthermore the embassy
has also made clear that the aid for the Secretariat is from Japan's
Food Production Grant Aid, which as the title implies, is money
meant for food assistance. Hence the embassy's claim that the report
is "totally false and groundless" is a totally strange
assertion and made for reasons better known to themselves.
Now to the
only other point in the news report disputed by the embassy of Japan.
The Sunday Times report said the money was an outright gift to the
LTTE Secretariat in Kilinochchi. The report pointed out that "The
money for the LTTE Secretariat, formally known as the "Peace
Secretariat," is for the purchase of computers, furniture etc.
Officially, the Secretariat also has a Sri Lanka government representative
press release states that the funds have been granted to the SIHRN
to be utilzed for the establishment of the joint Secretariat of
the Government and the LTTE.
surely, is a fragile argument on semantics. As the news report itself
pointed out, officially the Secretariat has a Sri Lanka Government
representative which makes clear the "official status."
But, it is
no secret that the Secretariat in Kilinochchi that is entrusted
with the task of rehabilitation and re-construction - a task that
is identified, directed and controlled solely by LTTE. The need
for such a body to be joint is to facilitate the receipt of funds.
Foreign donations, like that of Japan, therefore could be received
by the Government to be channeled to the Secretariat in LTTE controlled
Kilinochchi. The Government nominee in that Secretariat is someone
who was nominated by the LTTE.
It is the LTTE
that is the final recipient which will utilize such funds for rehabilitation
and re-construction. It is they who will determine the projects
and priorities. Hence, the question is whether the embassy of Japan
does not accept that its aid is a direct grant to, and will be utilised
by the LTTE and nobody else.
Some of the
other assertions in the press release have not been referred to
in the news report. And on the other hand, several of the assertions
in the news report have also not been referred to in the press release.
We stand by
our story that the Japanese Government has granted Rs. 35 million
to the LTTE.
Special Reports (Foreign) page on Japan's new role in the world)
call for prudent use of budget allocations
Governor Kingsley T. Wickremaratne called on Southern Provincial
Council members to use their budget allocations for 2003 towards
improving sectors with less funding.
his policy statement for this year at the ceremonial opening of
the fifth session of the fourth council at the Provincial Council
Complex at Galle on Tuesday, the Governor said the decentralised
budget must be used towards sectors with less funding such as environment
and alternate energy.
is essential for the future development and welfare of the people
of the Southern Province" he said.
for capital expenditure have been limited, which he said would make
it difficult to realise these goals.
aratne said the council has to find effective solutions to problems
such as poverty, unemployment, wastage of resources and imbalance
in resource distribution.
have to be resolved by identifying the available resources in the
province, he said.
said the creative ability of the people in the Southern Province
should be tapped and development activities embarked on.
for a third world country like Sri Lanka to mitigate the impact
on the social, cultural and economic sectors arising from globalisation,
would be narrow, he said.