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At UN, Ban to Meet with Sri Lanka AG, His Panel Undercut, No Nambiar Comment

[Inner City Press, Wednesday, 23 February 2011 08:12 No Comment]

Two months after UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon claimed that his Panel on Sri Lanka could visit the country due to President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s “flexibility,” on February 23 Ban is set to meet in New York with Sri Lankan Attorney General Mohan Peiris and Secretary for External Affairs C.R. Jayasinghe, Inner City Press learned late on February 22.

Ban’s Panel has not traveled to Sri Lanka, even as its extended deadline approaches. Inner City Press has reported exclusively that the Rajapaksa government since Ban’s December 17 statement has refused to allow Ban’s three person Panel to interview any Sri Lankan official, saying that such officials will only speak with Ban’s Executive Office of the Secretary General.

  Even Ban’s offers of video conference between his and Rajapaksa’s Panel, or written questions, were rejected.

While many, including in Ban’s office, feels this totally undermines the Panel on Accountability that Ban set up, they say apparently Ban has given in, as reflected by Wednesday’s meeting. We’ll see.

Earlier on February 22, Inner City Press asked Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky:

Inner City Press: I wanted to ask you a non-Libya question.

Spokesperson Nesirky: By all means. Make a change.

Inner City Press: Sure. There was a filing over the weekend on, with the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)…

Spokesperson Nesirky: Start again, please.

Inner City Press: Yeah, there was a filing with the Prosecutor of the ICC that has been widely reported in the Australian media. It’s largely against the [Permanent Representative] of Sri Lanka, saying that he should be prosecuted. But it has a couple of paragraphs, one which says there is a basis to question whether Vijay Nambiar was in fact an innocent neutral intermediary. And then it has a factual, a paragraph that it says is facts, saying that Nambiar, through the UN’s 24-hour dispatch, told Colvin that Mahinda Rajapakse, Gotabaya Rajapakse and Palitha Kohona had assured Nambiar that the LTTE [Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam] members who surrendered would be treated like normal prisoners of war if they hoisted a white flag high. I wanted to know what the UN’s response to this now, why the reported filing? Is that an accurate statement of fact and what’s the UN’s response to the characterization?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, first of all, the filing is as reported in the newspaper.

Inner City Press: : No, no, the file; I can give you a copy of the filing if you want it, it’s public, it’s been made public by two Tamil organizations that filed it with [Luis Moreno] Ocampo’s Office. It was picked up in Australia, I guess because of the Kohona angle, but I just want to know, since Mr. Nambiar is the Chief of Staff of the UN, what is the response to the characterization of him as possibly involved and the factual statement of him conveying these assurances from the President of Sri Lanka?

Spokesperson Nesirky: Well, a couple of points. The second is that I think you would need to check with the International Criminal Court’s Prosecutor about something that has been filed to the ICC Prosecutor. I think you would need to look at that. Secondly, on the second part of your question, I really don’t have any comment on that at this time. Okay?

Inner City Press: [inaudible] what Mr. Nambiar…

Spokesperson: I said I don’t have any comment on it at this time. Okay, all right, thank you very much.

In what the UN called “inaudible,” Inner City Press asked Nesirky if he was even going to try to get a comment or response from Mr. Nambiar.

[Full Coverage]

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