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As UN Says Panel Sri Lanka Visit “Desirable But Not Essential,” Ban Protested

[Inner City Press, Friday, 4 February 2011 19:49 No Comment]

After the UN has repeatedly said that travel to Sri Lanka by Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s Panel on Accountability is “not essential,” Ban answered a question amid protests after his speech at Oxford by saying that his Panel “has not yet been able to complete its mission. They are still negotiating with the Sri Lankan Government.”

On February 4, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesperson’s office in writing and in person to explain this statement (as well as Ban’s statement that he had been in Sri Lanka twice since May 2009).

The UN did not answer the written question, so at the February 4 noon briefing Inner City Press asked how Ban’s statement squares with the previous statement that travel to Sri Lanka, which has been blocked by the government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is “not essential.”

Ban’s deputy spokesman Farhan Haq answered that Ban’s Panel “has been discussing the proper arrangements to see if they can have such arrangements made.”

Haq said that of the Panel that “they do believe it is desirable to travel to Sri Lanka, but not essential.”

UN officials have already told Inner City Press, and then more formally confirmed, that Ban’s Panel is unable to talk, that Sri Lanka will only talk to the Executive Office of the Secretary General.

UN’s Ban and his Panel: mission not accomplished, transparency not shown

Haq did not allow the obvious question: how can the Panel meet its extended end of February deadline if Ban says, absent travel to Sri Lanka, the Panel “has not yet been able to complete its mission”? Will the intransigence of the Rajapaksa government make the panel unable to complete it mission?

[Full Coverage]

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