Tsunami aid to Lanka tied to peace process
The multi-million dollar international pledge to help Sri Lanka recover from the tsunami disaster of December 26, 2004, is clearly tied to the strengthening of the peace process in that war-torn country.
This came out clearly in the statement issued by the four "co-chairs" of the Tokyo Aid Lanka conference who met in Brussels on Tuesday, to discuss aid to tsunami-hit Sri Lanka.
The co-chairs, United States, European Union, Japan and Norway, said that the international aid pledged to Sri Lanka was meant for strengthening the peace process in the island country. They clearly hinted that aid could not be used as an instrument to divide the people and precipitate conflict once again.
The Brussels statement came in the wake of widespread complaints that the minority Tamils and Muslims were not getting equitable portions of the national and international aid, and reports that both the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil rebel LTTE were procuring armaments.
Reports said that the Sri Lankan government had been wanting to buy $150 million worth of weapons from Iran, and the LTTE had procured two aircraft, which could be used for kamikaze attacks against high profile Sri Lankan targets.
The co-chairs said, "in the midst of the tremendous natural disaster, opportunities existed to strengthen the peace process."