April 29, 2012, 10:18 pm
By Shamindra Ferdinando
A statement attributed to UNSG Ban Ki-moon regarding the final phase of the conflict and post-war reconciliation efforts will be taken up by the Sri Lankan government once the former South Korean diplomat returns to New York from Myanmar.
Authoritative sources told The Island yesterday that External Affairs Minister, Prof. G. L. Peiris had instructed Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative at the UN, Dr. Palitha Kohona to take up the issue as the comments attributed to the UN chief were inappropriate. The comments were made in an exclusive interview with The Times of India during a brief visit to India before he left for Myanmar.
The Sri Lankan government feels that the UN chief’s statement is unfair and could be exploited by the LTTE.
Responding to a query by The Times of India, regarding reconciliation and what President Mahinda Rajapakse should do in the wake of recent criticism of Sri Lanka by the UN Human Rights Council, the UN chief said: "I appreciate the difficult process the Sri Lankan government has undertaken, that they had to go through, fighting against terrorism. But in the course of the final few months of the military operations, it was also seen that unfortunately, tens of thousands of people were killed and human rights have been seriously violated. I have been urging president Rajapaksa and his government to address this issue for a sustainable social and political path. Accountability should be taken. I have established a panel of experts and the Sri Lankan government, upon strong urging from the international community has instituted their own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission. They made good recommendations. It’s important for President Rajapakse to implement the recommendations of the LLRC as well as those made by my panel of experts. Now that president Rajapakse has been re-elected he has a strong political mandate. This accountability system has to be fully restored as soon as possible."