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South Africa calls for “concrete effort” from Sri Lanka

The South African government has called on Sri Lanka to address the issue of accountability following the end of armed hostilities in May 2009, stating “that there should be demonstrable and concrete effort and movement in that regard”.

In a press release issued on Monday, South Africa stated that,

“Since the end of the war in May 2009 and the release of the United Nations (UN) Secretary General's Report of the Panel of Experts in April 2011, as well as the Sri Lankan government's own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) Report in December 2011, there has been a heightened demand and urgency in the international community for the Sri Lankan government to implement the outcomes of these Reports and other decisions of the UN Human Rights Council, with specific emphasis on the need to address the accountability issues following the events of May 2009.”

The statement, which also said that there was a “need for the resolution of the outstanding issues following the end in May 2009 of the bloody civil war”, went on to say,

"In its continued interaction with the Sri Lankan government and its leaders on the issues of reconciliation and nation-building in the post-conflict era, the South African government has always believed that the domestic accountability issues must first and foremost be sought at the national level and that there should be demonstrable and concrete effort and movement in that regard."

"The South African government has further, and on several occasions, emphasised that a durable and lasting peace would come about in Sri Lanka when the reconciliation process is underscored by a broad and truly inclusive dialogue process that addresses the rights and freedoms of the Tamil community and has the support of the international community and all Sri Lankans within and outside that country."

The release of the statement comes after Sri Lanka firmly rejected South Africa’s offer to broker talks between the Tamil National Alliance and the Colombo, following South Africa’s Deputy Minister of International Relations and Co-operation Ebrahim Ebrahim ameeting with Sri Lanka's External Affairs Minister G. L. Peiris in Colombo last month.

See our earlier post: Sri Lanka rejects South Africa offer to mediate talks with Tamils (16 Aug 2012)

South Africa went on to note in their press release,

"Deputy Minister's visit to Sri Lanka was his second to that country in a space of eight months, demonstrating the importance and urgency that the South African government attaches to the Sri Lankan situation."