South African delegation meets Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora in UK

Father SJ EmanualA South African delegation has met with Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora organisations with a view to bringing a sense of normalcy to the North-East part of the island and exchange views on how they could contribute towards the peace and reconciliation process.

The talks, which were led by South African Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Nomaindiya Mfeketo, were held in London in the United Kingdom on Monday, AllAfrica.com reported.

Representatives from a number of Sri Lankan Tamil Diaspora groups also attended the meeting during which the Deputy Minister briefed the participants on South Africa’s involvement in Sri Lanka.

According to the South Africa’s Department of International Relations and Cooperation, the Deputy Minister 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.

“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,” the Deputy Minister was quoted as saying in the report.

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.

This together with the 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.

In the State of the Nation Address in February last year, President Zuma announced the appointment of the Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa as a Special Envoy for Sri Lanka.

The South African government leaders have also engaged South Africa-based Tamil civil society groups through Deputy Minister Mfeketo.

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