South Africa eager for peace

[TamilNet, Tuesday, 15 December 1998, 15:33 GMT]
A South African Parliamentary Delegation has said that their Government is prepared to act as a facilitator for peace talks in Sri Lanka, if it is called upon to do so.

"We in South Africa are prepared to act as facilitators, if we are called upon to do so to bring the different parties together so that they could start talking," said Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim M.P., Leader of the South African Delegation to Sri Lanka, while commenting on the visit.

Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim, who is also Chairman of the Portfolio Committee of Foreign Affairs in the South African Parliament, went on to say that South Africa wanted to see a negotiated settlement to the conflict.

" The main purpose of our visit was to get an assessment of the problem in Sri Lanka," he said, "we have an interest in your problem because you have had conflict for a number of years and we like to see a peaceful resolution of the problem".

The South African M.P. added that South Africa had also gone through a conflict, which many thought could not be resolved without a bloody revolution, but that democracy was eventually achieved through negotiations.

"We wanted to share with the people of Sri Lanka our experiences of how we resolved our problem," said Mr. Ebrahim Ebrahim.

The M.P. said that the visit had been a success in that Sri Lanka would be able to learn from the South African experience.

" We hope that the people of Sri Lanka, both the parties to the conflict, could learn from our experience to come together and resolve the conflict in Sri Lanka. So in that sense our visit was very fruitful," he said.

He did however express regret that the delegation was not able to meet with the LTTE. "Our one regret is that we were not able to meet the LTTE. We had a lot of questions to ask them," said the M.P.

Mr. Ebrahim Ebrahim went on to say that many people had a rather simplistic view of the problem in Sri Lanka and that most people were unaware of the underlying causes of the conflict.

"The conflict is much more complex that we thought. There are many shades of opinion and there are many factors that need to be taken into account on the resolution of this conflict," he said.

The M.P. ended by saying that South Africa was eager to help find a solution to the conflict in the island.

" We hope that we in South Africa, in whatever little way we can, could assist the people in Sri Lanka to find a peaceful resolution of your problem as we have done in our country," he said.

 

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