COLOMBO: Sri Lanka is keen to engage all diaspora groups including Tamils in reconciliation efforts, foreign minister Mangala Samaraweera has said stressing the new government does not want the country to return to another bloody conflict.
Responding to opposition criticism of the recent talks held in London with the diaspora, Samaraweera said the government considered it is a vital need to engage with diaspora groups, especially those who hold extremist views.
Samaraweera said representatives of South African, Norwegian and Swiss governments along with Tamil National Alliance (TNA) members and a representative of the diaspora group, Global Tamil Forum (GTF), had taken part in the talks.
He said the Maithripala Sirisena government does not want Sri Lanka to return to another bloody conflict and violence.
“I have been spending all my time since becoming the foreign minister to build bridges that had been burnt during years of confrontations since the end of the conflict in 2009,” Samaraweera told the parliament.
He said Sirisena government was keen to end Sri Lanka’s international isolation which prevailed during former President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s regime.
“Our aim should be to embrace all diaspora, irrespective of ethnicity of religion who are committed to support reconciliation efforts while pledging to uphold the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of our nation”.
On a query by opposition leader Nimal Siripala de Silva, Samaraweera said the talks did not centre on a possible lifting of the LTTE proscription or war crimes charges leveled against Sri Lankan troops.