Sri Lanka and South Africa discuss reconciliation process

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COLOMBO – Foreign Minister G.L. Peiris told his South African counterpart, Dr. Naledi Pandor, about the need to adapt South Africa’s inspiring national experience on reconciliation to each country’s unique circumstances, noting that Sri Lanka was looking at similar issues related to post-conflict to bring matters to closure following the end of the conflict.

Peiris called on the South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, at the Permanent Mission of South Africa in New York, on Friday (24), for a bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. The Foreign Minister was accompanied by Foreign Secretary, Admiral Prof. Jayanath Colombage.

Dr. Pandor recalled the close and friendly bilateral ties between Sri Lanka and South Africa, stating that South Africa was pleased to share its experiences and lessons with countries looking to address post-conflict issues. She also noted that South Africa was presently sharing some elements on reconciliation with South Sudan, that it was still involved with issues related to the return of remains of many who had died in the freedom struggle outside the country.

Dr. Pandor also acknowledged that South Africa was continuing to learn lessons in addressing past human rights abuses and on issues related to reparations, amnesty and justice.

Minister Peiris recalled his long association with South Africa dating to his Doctoral work where he had visited South African Universities and conducted a series of lectures on Constitutional Law. He also recalled fondly his close friendships and connections with South African Minister Dullah Omar, and leading personalities Roelf Meyer and Ebrahim Ebrahim, who played pivotal roles in the freedom struggle against the Apartheid government and several visits undertaken to South Africa at a High Level.

Peiris highlighted Sri Lanka had closely looked at South Africa’s rich experience and unique history in the areas of reconciliation and truth, while noting that many aspects were particular to South Africa’s own national experience, Sri Lanka had carefully reflected on some aspects of this experience.

The minister briefed his South African counterpart about Sri Lanka’s own initiatives, including its own Office of Missing Persons and Office of Reparations and their contribution towards Sri Lanka’s post-conflict development and national unity.

Peiris invited Dr. Pandor to visit Sri Lanka to expand on the rich bilateral relations between the two sides. Minister Pandora also extended an invitation for the minister to visit South Africa and renew close ties. The two ministers appreciated the deep and close ties of friendship between the two countries and close cooperation in the multilateral arena.

-ENCL

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