South Africa may mediate in Lanka’s reconciliation with Tamils

reconciliation.jpg 2   South Africa may mediate in Sri Lanka’s reconciliation efforts with the Tamil minority community, making it the third country after India and Norway to negotiate in the process.

South African President Jacob Zuma’s special envoy on SriLanka Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to arrive here either late May or June to meet with Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

Zuma in mid-February announced in South African parliament that he had appointed Ramaphosa as special Sri Lankan envoy to bring about peace and reconciliation in the island.

Ramaphosa is to mediate in Colombo’s reconciliation efforts with the Tamil minority, ‘Sunday Times’ here said today.

The paper said the Sri Lankan government would use the South African initiative to mitigate the effects of the UN Human Rights Council resolution which called for an international investigation into alleged human rights abuses in Sri Lanka.

The Tamil National alliance (TNA) meanwhile have just returned from a visit to South Africa. They met Ramaphosa and discussed the root cause of the conflict.

Asked to comment on the South African visit and the Indian response to such a mediation by Pretoria, Rajavayothi Sampanthan, the TNA leader said, “They are aware of all developments. I am sure the South African government will keep India briefed.

“We have emphasized to the Pretoria government the importance of India’s role. India has for a long time played that role. This will continue in the process,” he said.

Sampanthan said all matters which could pave way for the peace and reconciliation are to be put on the negotiating table.

The efforts would make South Africa the third country in the history of the Sri Lankan conflict to mediate besides India and Norway.

The Indian mediation came in 1987 with the Indo-Lanka Accord of July that year. Norway brokered peace deal with the LTTE during 2002 and 2004. Both efforts came a cropper.  (The Hindu)

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