The South African Government is to continue its initiative on Sri Lanka by having more consultations with stakeholders within and outside Sri Lanka aimed at promoting a lasting political solution, peace initiatives, truth-telling and reconciliation in Sri Lanka.
The South African Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said that South Africa’s engagement in Sri Lanka stems from the request by former Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to President Jacob Zuma during the 23rd Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Colombo in November 2013 and a subsequent invitation from Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe for South Africa to engage through its Special Envoy and share its experiences in political dialogue, negotiations, reconciliation and nation-building. The same sentiments were also relayed to President Zuma by the leadership of the Tamil National Alliance (TNA).
As part of this initiative, the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Nomaindiya Mfeketo had a series of meetings with representatives of International Tamil Diaspora organisations from Sri Lanka in London this week.
The South African Ministry of International Relations and Cooperation said that Deputy Minister Mfeketo’s engagement with the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora organisations follows her earlier visit to Sri Lanka, where she led an advance and technical team of experts to the country in February 2015.
Representatives from a number of Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora groups attended the meeting during which the Deputy Minister briefed the participants on South Africa’s involvement in Sri Lanka. She also engaged in a discussion and an exchange of views on how the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora could contribute towards the peace and reconciliation process unfolding in Sri Lanka.
In his State of the Nation Address (SONA) in February 2014, President Zuma announced the appointment of the Deputy President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, as his Special Envoy for Sri Lanka.
One of the cornerstones of the South African initiative in Sri Lanka is to consult with stakeholders within and external to Sri Lanka as part of South Africa’s initiatives aimed at promoting a lasting political solution, peace initiatives, truth-telling and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. This includes some members of the Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora.
South African government leaders have also engaged South Africa-based Tamil civil society groups through Deputy Minister Mfeketo. (Colombo Gazette)