Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe proposed Monday the establishment of a provisional administrative structure for the rebel-dominated northeastern region of Sri Lanka.
The move is viewed as a sign of compromise, suggesting that Colombo is ready to resume peace negotiations with the rebels.
The remark was made at an international aid conference for Sri Lanka in Tokyo. The Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam boycotted the meeting in protest over Colombo’s previous rejection of an interim administrative council.
The Tigers would be offered a “significant role,” Wickremesinghe said, adding he is prepared to seek constitutional reforms and a national referendum once a political solution is reached.
During the two-day conference, Foreign Minister Yoriko Kawaguchi pledged to provide up to $1 billion in aid to Sri Lanka over the next three years.
“It is important to link the development of the peace process and the implementation of financial support,” Kawaguchi said. “The two sides should not take aid from the international community for granted.”
Meanwhile, the Asian Development Bank announced its intention to offer $1 billion over the next four years. The European Union pledged to provide 250 million euros over three years.
Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi voiced hope the conference will be an opportunity for the global community to show its commitment toward Sri Lanka’s peace process.
“If the people of Sri Lanka can enjoy the ‘dividend of peace,’ their determination toward peace will be reinforced,” he said.
The donor conference was attended by representatives of some 50 nations and 20 international organizations.
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