By Easwaran Rutnam
The Government has ruled out talks with banned Tamil diaspora groups but will instead look at engaging with others.
President Gotabaya Rajapaksa had told UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres during his recent visit to the UN that internal issues of Sri Lanka should be resolved through an internal mechanism of the country and that the Tamil Diaspora would be invited for discussions in this regard.
However, in an interview with Daily Mirror, Foreign Minister, Professor G.L Peiris, insisted that there will not be any direct talks with banned diaspora groups like the Global Tamil Forum.
The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), British Tamil Forum (BTF), Canadian Tamil Congress (CTC), Australian Tamil Congress (ATC), National Council of Canadian Tamil, Tamil Youth Organisation and the World Tamil Coordinating Committee are among those proscribed by the Ministry of Defence.
“We can’t speak to organisations that have been banned by the Sri Lankan government. That is not possible because that would be a violation of our law. But there are other shades of opinion. So, it’s useful to engage with them,” he said.
The Minister said the government is having discussions with several groups and individuals as part of the reconciliation process.
“It is always good to get feedback and we are now having extensive discussions with people right across the spectrum. And I think that is enriching the processes of reconciliation that we have embarked upon,” he said.
Professor G.L Peiris said that President Gotabaya Rajapaksa will meet the Tamil National Alliance on his return from COP26, which he will attend at the invitation of the British Prime Minister.
“So be it the NGO community or the foreign diaspora or the parliamentary opposition in Sri Lanka. We want to engage with all of them and that is very much the way forward,” the Foreign Minister said.