Colombo, May 13 (Reuters): Sri Lanka said today it was still preparing for a donor conference in Tokyo despite no sign from Tamil Tiger rebels they will attend the meeting, which it is hoped will raise billions for rebuilding after 20 years of war.
The Tigers said in April they would boycott the conference after being left out of a planning meeting for the event.
They later suspended peace talks with the government, saying that not enough was being done to rebuild war-hit Tamil areas.
“There is still some time and we are hopeful that everything will take place as planned,” government spokesman G.. Peiris told a regular news conference.
Envoys from Norway, which brokered a February 2002 truce that led to direct negotiations, and Japan, the island’s biggest aid donor, failed last week to convince the rebels to take part. The truce remains in place.
The international pressure on the Tigers continues this week, with Norwegian foreign minister Jan Petersen arriving tomorrow, and US assistant secretary of state Christina Rocca currently on the island.
Rocca will not meet the rebels, who have been fighting for a separate state for minority Tamils, because the US has banned them as a “terrorist organisation”.