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Ban Ki-moon to appoint Expert Panel next week – UN Political Under Secretary

[TamilNet, Thursday, 17 June 2010 18:49 No Comment]

United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon is expected to appoint a panel of experts to advise him on accountability issues related to Sri Lanka next week, said UN Under Secretary General for Political Affairs, Lyn Pascoe said at a media briefing held Thursday evening in Colombo. He added that a report on Sri Lanka will be handed over to UN Secretary General next week. The expert panel will be appointed only to brief UN Secretary General and it would also be available as a resource that the Sri Lankans can turn to if they wish.

"During my discussions with President Rajapaksa on Wednesday, I made it very clear to him that the expert panel would be appointed by the Secretary General. However, there have been many misunderstandings about this panel about what it’s going to do, but there is no cause for concern at all. I also hope that the panel would be useful to the Sri Lankan side," Pascoe said at the media briefing.

Pascoe held discussions with President Mahinda Rajapaksa, cabinet officials responsible for foreign, Defence and economic development and the Attorney General during his visit.

He further said that the Sri Lankan government had assured him that the Lessons Learned and Reconciliation Commission appointed by President Rajapaksa will provide Sri Lankans with a credible and independent accountability mechanism.

Lyn Pascoe said that the UN would support it and provide its assistance should the Lankan government ask.

He further said the responsibility for carrying out a credible process that meets international standards rests first and foremost with the Sri Lankan authorities and the UN would follow with interest in the progress made by the Presidential appointed committee.

He didn’t give details nor any hints about the composition of the panel, a move which Sri Lanka is strongly opposed to, as it is expected to look into the country’s human rights issues.

However, Mr. Pascoe’s comments at the news briefing on Thursday evening indicated that the UN will go ahead with the creation of this controversial body despite Colombo’s opposition, diplomatic sources said.

[Full Coverage]

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