Govt. invitation is for all Diaspora groups – Foreign Ministry

The Government of Sri Lanka has invited all members of the Sri Lankan Diaspora to contribute to the reconciliation process and the country’s wider development, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated.

Speaking to The Nation, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mahishini Colonne said the invitation was extended to all members of the Sri Lankan Diaspora and it should not be misconstrued as being confined to engagement with pro-LTTE Tamil Diaspora groups.
She said the government was keen on having regular interactions with all the Diaspora, meaning anyone of Sri Lankan origin resident overseas. The Diaspora was welcome to contribute in whatever way it could to Sri Lanka, whether it is through sharing of knowledge, skills, or any other form, she added.

Mangala SamaraweeraColonne said the ministry was encouraged by the positive feedback received to its invitation by various sections of the Diaspora, including those from the Sinhala Diaspora. Some countries such as India hold annual Diaspora festivals and this was one aspect that Sri Lanka was looking into, she pointed out. However, she noted that the government was currently looking at various proposals and nothing has been finalized as yet.

She also dismissed claims that the government was intent on delisting the LTTE, its front organizations and individuals who were blacklisted by the previous regime under Extraordinary Gazette Notification 1854/41 of March 21, 2014. The gazette notification was issued under United Nations Regulation No.1 of 2012. Under the gazette notification, the then government designated 424 individuals and 16 organizations including the LTTE.

Colonne said that the government was reviewing this list in accordance with UN obligations, which notes that an annual review of the individuals and groups listed should be done. This process was currently ongoing under a committee comprising multiple agencies and ministries and headed by a senior official at the Ministry of Defence. She pointed out that the committee, when reviewing the list, will have to go by ‘current information’ and not what was available at the time of the listing. “For instance, some people included in the original list have since passed away. So, they obviously cannot continue to be on the list,” she stressed.

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