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Sri Lanka to discuss South African reconciliation model

Posted on Feb 19 2014 | IANS

Colombo, Feb 19 : A Sri Lankan delegation will head to South Africa this week to learn and discuss about the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission and how that can be applied in Sri Lanka, the island nation's external affairs ministry said Wednesday.

Sri Lankan Minister Nimal Siripala de Silva will lead a delegation for discussions with the ruling African National Congress, Xinhua reported.

The external affairs ministry said the Sri Lankan delegation will look at understanding the manner in which the South African exercise can help in Sri Lanka's reconciliation process, following the defeat of the Tamil Tiger rebels five years ago.

This initiative is a result of the recent discussions between Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa and South African President Jacob Zuma when the latter visited Sri Lanka for the Commonwealth summit last year.

President Zuma in his 6th State of the Nation Address last week announced that Cyril Ramphosa, vice president of the ANC, had been appointed as 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.

"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 Sri Lankan External Affairs Ministry said.

"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," it added.

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