Russia has shot down a proposal by Mexico which called for a briefing to the United Nations Security Council about the situation in Sri Lanka, diplomatic sources said. They said Mexico, which became a member of the Security Council this year, made the request at a closed-door meeting on Thursday, but the move was formally opposed by Russia, which argued that the Sri Lankan issue was not on the agenda of the Council.
A senior Foreign Ministry official in Colombo said that what Mexico had suggested was at an informal meeting and it was not of great concern. This is a very long way off from Sri Lanka being even taken up for consideration by the UN Security Council in the current context, the official said.
However, H.M.G.S. Palihakkara, Sri Lanka`s Permanent representative to the UN in New York, would meet the Mexican representative and brief him adequately on the situation in Sri Lanka, he said.
Ambassador Palihakkara will handle the situation. We are confident the issue will not come up at the Security Council, the official said.
The UN-based Inner City Press reported that this month`s Council president, Yukio Takasu, had said he would engage the two sides -- Mexico and Russia -- in bilateral consultations on the issue. It indicated that Mexico could raise the issue again next week. The report said that Russia might not be the only Permanent Five member of the Council wanting to keep Sri Lanka off the Council`s agenda.
Inner City Press had asked British Ambassador John Sawers, when he spoke about Sudan`s assault of a South Darfur town held by rebels of the Justice and Equality Movement, to explain the difference between Sri Lanka and Sudan. They are not comparable, Ambassador Sawers said, adding that the LTTE was on the sanctions list.
Asked what would have prompted Mexico to make such a request, the Foreign Ministry official said that it
was puzzling as Sri Lanka had friendly diplomatic relations with that South American nation. He said a junior level official might have made the request unaware of the Sri Lankan situation.
Sri Lanka has no embassy in Mexico City but its ambassador to Washington is accredited to Mexico. Another possible reason the official cited was Mexico s growing interest in humanitarian and human rights issues. Any member of the Security Council can ask for a briefing from a member state. It is like an expression of interest and there is no cause for worry, he said.
However some years ago, another Latin American country, Argentina, kept raising the Sri Lankan issue at various UN human rights forums, especially in Geneva. Sri Lankan authorities at that time believed India which took a pro-LTTE line at that time might have been behind Argentina s moves as Argentina had no interest whatsoever in what was happening in Sri Lanka otherwise.
A retired diplomat in Colombo pointed out that Sri Lanka had in the past backed Britain at the UN when it went to war with Argentina over the Falkland crisis and this would have been a motivating factor for Argentina to spearhead a campaign against Sri Lanka.