Samaraweera defends talks with diaspora groups

Foreign Minister Mangala Samaraweera on Wednesday defended the Sri Lankan government’s policy of engaging with Tamil diaspora groups.

His Ministerial colleague and Jathika Hela Urumaya (JHU) leader Patali Champika Ranawaka had earlier said the government should engage with only those groups that renounced the demand for separatism. Asked about Ranawaka’s comment, Samaraweera told a press conference that he had been doing the same for the last several months. But “you can’t get them to renounce violence without talking to them. You have to talk to them and discuss with them.”

nazi mahinda 2Conceding that there were others who still believed in the cause of separatism, Mr Samaweera said: “We are willing to [talk] them. Finally, if they still persist in pursuing their agenda of separatism, of course, we won’t have anything to do with them.”

On the U.S. State Department’s observation that the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE)’s financial network operated through 2014, the Minister said it was a reflection of the “total failure” of strategies of the Rajapaksa administration, as the report pertained to 2014. A perusal of the reports of the previous years also showed that the content was the same.

Asked about the possibility of LTTE’s re-emergence, he said there would be attempts to regroup the LTTE in other parts of the world, if not in Sri Lanka. Referring to a body led by V. Rudrakumaran, which “represents that faction within the Tamil diaspora”, the Minister expressed hope that the faction joined the mainstream in future.