South African Government calls for Dialogue in Sri Lanka

PretoriaThe South African government today Thursday 21 May 2009 expressed deep concern over developments at the weekend in Sri Lanka.  The military offensive conducted by the Sri Lankan government has exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in the north of the country and resulted in the deaths of thousands of civilians and the displacement of many hundreds of thousands of citizens.

Deputy International Relations and Cooperation Minister Ehrahim Ebrahim said, “The South African government expresses grave regret at the manner in which the military offensive was conducted and urges the United Nations Human Rights Commission to urgently investigate possible violations of international human rights law and contraventions of the Geneva Convention.”

“The South African government calls on the Sri Lankan government to urgently allow humanitarian aid into the affected areas as well as access to international media,” continued Deputy Minister Ebrahim.

“The South African government has noted the conciliatory tone in the speech of President Mahinda Rajapaksa on 19 May 2009 and express our hope that the end of the military campaign will result in a peaceful dialogue with all minorities to address their long standing grievances. We will continue to support any efforts aimed at bringing about peace and reconciliation between the parties,” concluded Deputy Minister Ebrahim.

Issued by Nomfanelo Kota on 082 459 3787

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
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21 May 2009

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