Sri Lanka Donor Conference Emphasizes Hope, Urgency

Joint Press Conference by the Co-Chairs, Sri Lanka Donors' Conference
June 10, 2003


DEPUTY SECRETARY ARMITAGE: I have not much to add to this morning's proceedings other than to echo what Minister Peiris said about the international community calling on the LTTE to resume negotiations immediately.

Other conference transcripts:

And I must say I would like to add a personal vote of confidence and thanks to the government of Japan, for not succumbing to the temptation to be blackmailed by a group who would not participate in these proceedings and thereby cancel them. This would not be appropriate, I think, for the lives of the twenty-odd million Sri Lankans who only want to have a peaceful and prosperous future, so I think that one of the more courageous acts that we've seen recently has been the decision by the government of Japan to go ahead with this conference, and indeed the 51 donor nations and twenty-odd international institutions--who not only showed up, but showed up big in terms of money and moral support--I think speaks very well for your decision, so well done to you, sir.

QUESTION: My name is Dawn (phonetic). I work for NHK Japan Broadcasting Corporation. My question is to His Excellency Mr. Zepter and Mr. Richard Armitage.

The international community today has pledged $4.5 billion to Sri Lanka. Please comment upon what does this imply in terms of international support to conflict resolution; and despite repeated calls, the LTTE has not participated. How do you interpret this situation and what are you planning to do about this? I would appreciate it if you could comment from your respective positions as well as members of the international community. Thank you.

ARMITAGE: I think that the international community is showing, by the strength of the pledges here, that they are making a bet. They're betting that the people of Sri Lanka can show the world a way to conflict resolution that will lead to a multi-ethnic, multi-religious democracy, taking its proper place in the community of nations. That's what the international community, I believe, is saying. Regarding the reasons for the no-show of the LTTE, as my colleague has indicated, who can know whether it's a sign of their lack of confidence, the ability to work with the international community, or whether it's a sign of internal divisions and a lack of clarity in their own aims--which I personally suspect, but cannot know for sure.