Ministerial delegation to South Africa

reconciliation   Cyril Ramphosa, Vice President of the African National Congress (ANC) has been appointed as South Africa’s Special Envoy to help Sri Lanka in the reconciliation process. by SA President Jacob Zuma in his 6th State of the Nation address last week.

A delegation led by Mr. Nimal Siripala de Silva, Leader of the House and Minister of Irrigation and Water Resources Management, will visit South Africa from 20 th to 21 st February 2014 for discussions with the South African government and the ruling African National Congress party. The delegation’s discussions will be primarily in relation to the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, with the aim of understanding the manner in which that exercise can help in Sri Lanka’s own reconciliation process, following the defeat of terrorism.

This initiative is a result of the recent discussions between President Mahinda Rajapaksa and South African President Jacob Zuma when he visited Sri Lanka for CHOGM last year. External Affairs Minister G.L. Peiris has continued the dialogue on this matter with his South African counterpart Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, which has resulted in the materialization of this visit.

President Zuma in his 6 th State of the Nation Address last week announced that Cyril Ramphosa, Vice President of the ANC, has been appointed South Africa’s Special Envoy to Sri Lanka to assist in initiatives for bringing about peace and reconciliation, considering his expertise in conflict resolution and negotiations and that country’s experience in this regard. This announcement concretizes the relationship between Sri Lanka and South Africa by mainstreaming this initiative at the government level.

While the context of the conflicts in Sri Lanka and South Africa has several differences, the sharing of experiences and insights is clearly of value. The forthcoming high level discussions underscore the close and collaborative relationship between the two governments, particularly on the issue of reconciliation. It is in this setting that the Government of Sri Lanka has been studying the South African experience in reconciliation, and adapting it to local conditions, as the reconciliation process, in order to be sustainable needs to be homegrown.

The Sri Lanka delegation will also include Mr. Douglas Devananda, Minister of Traditional Industries and Small Enterprise Development, Mr. Faiszer Musthapha, Deputy Minister of Investment Promotion, Mr. Sajin de Vass Gunawardena, Monitoring Member of Parliament of the External Affairs Ministry and Mr. Arun Thambimuttu, Organizer of the SLFP for Batticaloa.

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