: The “Non Resident Tamils of Sri Lanka(NRTSL), an organization based in Essex in the UK, has said in a statement that it welcomes Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s statement in New York that his government is ready to initiate a dialogue with the Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora.

When he met the UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on 19th of September in New York, President Gotabaya asserted that the Tamil diaspora would be invited for discussions”

Engagement with the diaspora is particularly important at the time when multiple challenges face Sri Lanka, needing a multiprongedapproach to overcome them, said V.Sivalingam, President of the NRTSL said in a statement released on Friday.

The NRTSL is supportive of open, transparent, and sincere engagement of the government of Sri Lanka with the diaspora community to support the country’s socio-economic progress. The waraffected Northern and Eastern Provinces of Sri Lanka need unhindered and a vast amount of support to recover from its post war malaise.

With our engagement at the ground level, the NRTSL firmly believes that the majority of the Tamil diaspora is keen to engage and contribute to the developmental activities and to addressthe welfare needs of our people,” Sivalingamsaid.

The present government must a go a long way to mitigate the growing mistrust and insecurity that is evolving amongst all Sri Lankans on an alarming scale,” he added.

He described the ban on many Tamil diasporaorganizations and individuals by the present government as “arbitrary” and said that the ban is a cause of serious concern for the NRTSL.

Addressing the diaspora, the NRTSL President said that it believes that the President’s engagement with the Tamil diaspora will be an opportunity that cannot be disregarded and must be considered as a new beginning and strengthened.

The NRTSL urges all diaspora organizations to take up this opportunity to engage with thegovernment with the wider and common interest to promote unityindiversity that can be achieved through a sincere decentralization of power,” Sivalingam said.

The Tamil diaspora is not a homogeneous entity and that there are multiple organizations representing diverse views, he stated.

He welcomed the pledges that President Gotabaya made to the UN Secretary General on crucial issues such as granting Presidential pardon to long-term Tamil detainees, paying reparations to victims of the war, and transfer of lands taken during the war back to the owners etc.

These are important commitments for the Tamil community in Sri Lanka and for the diaspora community,” Sivalingam said.

On the political front, Tamil Diaspora’s engagement must be a complementary effortto strengthen the engagement of the democratically elected Tamil representatives in Sri Lanka with the government to find a long term resolution to the burgeoning political conflict, the NRTSL President said.

He urged the Lankan President to initiate a robust action program to engage with all sectors of the diaspora without being selective to enable them to be partner in the development of our country for ushering an era of peace, progress, and prosperity for Sri Lanka.



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