Press Statement

02 March 2012

Official Visit of the Minister of External Affairs of Sri Lanka, Prof GL Peiris, 4-6 March 2012

International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane will host her counterpart from Sri Lanka, Professor Gamini Lakshman Peiris, Minister of External Affairs for bilateral discussions on Monday, 5 March 2012.

Minister Peiris is expected to brief Minister Nkoana-Mashabane on political, economic and social developments in Sri Lanka, especially following the release of the Report of the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC) in November 2011. 

In welcoming the release of the Report, South Africa had earlier commended the Government of Sri Lanka for the decision to set up an authoritative mechanism to further investigate allegations related to human rights abuses. In this regard, South Africa encouraged decisive actions upon the findings. 

Minister Nkoana-Mashabane visited Sri Lanka together with former Deputy Minister of Public Service and Administration, Roy Padayachie in October 2009, and this was followed by a visit to Sri Lanka in November 2011, by Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim.

Three Partnership Forum Meetings between South Africa and Sri Lanka have already been held respectively in October 2005 in Colombo; in February 2009 in Pretoria; and in October 2010 in Colombo. South Africa will host the next meeting of the Partnership Forum in 2012.

Bilateral economic relations will also be discussed as bilateral trade has seen a steady increase in growth in both exports and imports. In the period January to December 2011, South Africa’s exports to Sri Lanka amounted to R268 million and imports from Sri Lanka amounted to R194 million.

The South African private sector is also becoming involved in Sri Lanka’s expanding economy.  The announcement of a US$ 800 million investment from Sun International in a new hotel venture in Sri Lanka is testimony to this.

During his visit, Minister Peiris is also expected to meet the Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Mr Ebrahim Ebrahim.

In recognising the territorial sovereignty and integrity of Sri Lanka, South Africa believes in the need for a peaceful and sustainable political solution, which will be best achieved through broad consultation and inclusive dialogue amongst all the peoples of Sri Lanka. South Africa is ready to assist and share with the Government and people of Sri Lanka its experiences in terms of reconciliation and nation-building.

Enquiries: Mr. Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for DIRCO, 082 884 5974

ISSUED BY THE DEPARTMENT OF INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS AND COOPERATION

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