South African delegation to visit Jaffna
[TamilNet, Thursday, 10 December 1998, 11:32 GMT]
The multi-party Parliamentary delegation from South Africa which arrived in Colombo on Tuesday November 8 held discussions with the leader of the Eelam People's Democratic Party (EPDP) Douglas Devananda and Sri Lanka's minister for justice and constitutional affairs Prof.G.L Pieris this morning.
The discussions centred mainly around the island's ethnic conflict and Colombo's efforts to resolve it said sources.
The Sri Lankan Foreign ministry said the visit of the South African Parliamentarians was to continue the dialogue and further consolidate bilateral relations between the two countries.
The delegation will meet the leader of the People's Liberation Organisation of Tamil Eelam (PLOTE), Dharmalingam Sitharthan MP, the general secretary of the Tamil United Liberation Front (TULF ) Mr.R.Sampanthan MP, and the leader of the Sri Lanka Muslim Congress (SLMC) and Minister for Ports Shipping, Relief and Rehabilitation Mr.M.H.M Ashraff during the morning and in the afternoon.
The delegation will meet the Sri Lankan President, Chandrika Kumaratunge, at 4 p.m.
The South African Parliamentarians will fly to Jaffna on Saturday November 12 and return the same day to Colombo after meetings with the Sri Lankan Army, senior government officials and community leaders.
A foreign ministry source said that the South African delegation will be particularly shown the measures taken by the government to restore normalcy in Jaffna.
On Sunday November 13 the delegation will visit the refugee camps in Puttalam where Muslims displaced from Jaffna are housed.
The South African Parliamentarians are scheduled then leave to Kandy and see the Dalada Maaligaawa (the temple of the tooth) next morning on November 14. They will leave for South Africa in the afternoon the same day.
The South African Parliamentarians are: Mr.Ebrahim Ebrahim MP and chairman of the portfolio committee on Foreign affairs(African National Conference), Dr.E.Jasset MP (ANC), Mr.Y Carrim MP (ANC), Mr. S. Mgidi MP (ANC), Mr.D.Dalling MP (ANC), Dr.K.Rajoo MP (Inkhata Freedom Party), Mr.Desmond Padiachey MP.
The visit of the delegation will go a long way in impressing upon the South African government that it should steer clear of the Liberation Tigers said the foreign ministry source.