The South African Minister for International Relations and Cooperation Dr. Naledi Pandor received Foreign Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris at the Permanent Mission of South Africa in New York, on Friday 24 September, for a bilateral meeting, on the sidelines of the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York. The Lankan Foreign Minister was accompanied by Foreign Secretary Admiral Prof. JayanathColombage.

Peiris and Pandor exchanged ideas on ethnic reconciliation as both countries had emerged from a long drawn out ethnic strife.

The Lankan Minister said that Sri Lanka had closely looked at South Africa’s rich experience and unique history in the areas of reconciliation and truth, and 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.

Minister Peiris highlighted the need to adapt South Africa’s inspiring national experience to a country’s unique circumstances and challenges. He noted that Sri Lanka is also looking at similar issues related to post conflict to bring matters to a closure following the end of the conflict.

Minister Peiris 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.

Minister Pandor highlighted that South Africa was pleased to share their experiences and lessons with countries looking to address post conflict issues and noted they were presently sharing some elements on  reconciliation with South Sudan and that they were still involved with issues related to the return of remains of many who had died in the freedom struggle outside South Africa and that they continued to learn lessons in addressing past human rights abuses and on issues related to reparations, amnesty and justice.

Minister Peiris invited his counterpart 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.

He also 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 prominent and leading 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. He said that former President Mahinda Rajapaksa had attended the funeral of the late President Nelson Mandela.



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