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On Sri Lanka, UN Puts Spin on “No Delay,” Jabs at NAM, Will Fonseka Meet Pascoe?

[Inner City Press, Friday, 19 March 2010 16:24 No Comment]

Amid charges by the UN that the Non Aligned Movement’s letter defending Sri Lanka’s Rajapaksa government was not agreed to by all NAM member, notably India, the UN is insisting there is no contradiction between its statements about a panel to advise Ban Ki-moon about approaches to war crimes in Sri Lanka.

On March 18, Inner City Press asked Ban’s Associate Spokesman Farhan Haq about his quote that the panel would not be established very soon and Ban’s March 16 statements that there would be "no delay."

"To many it seems contradictory," Inner City Press began. "By many you mean you?" demanded Farhan Haq. Video here, from Minute 7:55.

Well, no. Even after the briefing, a number of UN correspondents who neither ask nor write about Sri Lanka approached Inner City Press to say they too found it confusing, no delay but not very soon.

Haq tried to square the comments by saying no delay in considering the terms of reference. Presumably Ban considered this before informing Mahinda Rajapaksa he was going to name the panel. Again, timing in this regard should be compared to Guinea, where the September 2009 killing of 150 civilians has already triggered a UN panel, terms of reference and investigation long completed. No delay?

Senior Ban advisors have told Inner City Press that they are mad at the NAM letter, claiming that India for example did not agree to the letter. Inner City Press is inquiring. For now, Inner City Press has obtained the NAM letter — the Sri Lankan Mission to the UN declined to provide it to the press — and puts it online here.

Just as the "no delay" panel may in fact be intentionally delayed past Sri Lanka’s April election, so too many the trip of Ban’s envoy Lynn Pascoe. The question is, will Pascoe as least ask for, and hold out to receive, permission to meet with Sarath Fonseka, the imprisoned opposition candidate and former general? One cynic pointed to the UN asking to meet in Myanmar with Aung San Suu Kyi.

[Full Coverage]

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