Govt, Diaspora Talks In UK

By Easwaran Rutnamg

The Government was to have talks with the Tamil Diaspora in London over the weekend in an attempt to take the post war reconciliation process forward.

Sources said that a Government Minister, who was visiting London, was to meet leading Diaspora groups while a Parliamentarian from the Tamil National Alliance was also to attend.

Meanwhile, in response to a question posed by The Sunday Leader via email on Thursday, the Foreign Ministry said the Government welcomes the meaningful participation of all diaspora groups and persons of Sri Lankan origin of all communities who live overseas to contribute to the reconciliation process as well as other processes that are underway in Sri Lanka.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said the Government also welcomes some of the meaningful and constructive comments in favour of reconciliation that have been made in recent times by some of the diaspora members and groups.

mangala_samaraweera-1The Global Tamil Forum (GTF), a leading Tamil Diaspora group based in UK, had recently told The Sunday Leader it was willing to talk with anyone to address issues faced by the Tamils.

“There are many Sri Lankans who live overseas from different communities who are extremely talented and skilled. People in Sri Lanka can most certainly benefit from their expertise and their knowledge in diverse fields – arts & culture, business, investment, education, science, research, sports, etc.  Their participation would enrich the lives of people in Sri Lanka. Their ideas are valued and welcome,” Colonne told The Sunday Leader.

She also said that Sri Lanka appreciates all efforts taken by the international community, not only South Africa, but all other countries and parties, in discussing issues with the diaspora.

South Africa had recently met the Global Tamil Forum for talks in London on the Sri Lankan issue as part of the role it plays in Sri Lanka’s reconciliation process.

“There is no official mediation role that has been accorded to the Government of South Africa. As you are aware, the President of South Africa appointed the Deputy President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa as his Special Envoy for Sri Lanka. This was at the request of the former President of Sri Lanka. Therefore, Mr Ramaphosa continues this task and we appreciate his efforts aimed at harnessing the tremendous capacity and goodwill that exists among the diaspora communities of Sri Lankan origin in the world, in contributing meaningfully and constructively to their country of origin, Sri Lanka, in a unitary framework, safeguarding the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country,” the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.