Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Samarasinghe said the dialogue with the UN was continuing to assert Sri Lanka s position that an advisory panel to focus on Sri Lanka s accountability issues, was unwarranted.
The Minister said UN Resident Representative Niel Buhne who returned
from a consultation stint at UN headquarters in New York reiterated
that the proposed panel will advise the UN Secretary General Ban Ki
Moon on a way forward in terms of the commitments spelt out in the
joint communique issued at the end of his visit to Sri Lanka in May.
I don t think we should over-react. We should just wait and see what
unfolds from the Secretary General s side.
We have made it clear to the Secretary General that we don t see a
necessity for a group of experts to probe into accountability issues
in Sri Lanka since the Government has already taken meaningful steps
towards addressing these concerns, the Minister said.
Sri Lanka s permanent representative to UN Dr. Palitha Kohona is
currently in touch with Moon s Chief De Cabinet Vijay Nambiar over the
appointment of the expert panel which the UN chief s spokesperson at
the Thursday noon briefing at the UN headquarters has identified as
not an investigative body .
Minister Samarasinghe said a six member committee has been appointed
by the President to look into the US State Department report which
catalogues a number of incidents during the last stages of the war.
That committee is still working and their mandate has been extended
till April 5.
There is an intention on the part of the President to appoint a
committee to look into the root causes of the 35-year conflict, so
that we will learn from the lessons and prevent a similar situation in
future. Then there is also the President s initiative of looking at
reconciliation and development.
I believe he will personally spearhead this process after the
elections and the new parliament is put in place. We believe the
communique has not been violated. There was a number of domestic
processes that Sri Lanka as a sovereign nation has initiated, and that
was what the joint communique called for, he stressed. We are a
sovereign nation and it is incumbent on our part to take whatever
steps we think would further stabilise our society and strengthen our
Asked about the claims that the UN Secretary General s action would
lead to a war crimes probe, the Minister said: Anyone who talks about
war crimes obviously doesn t know what they are talking about, it is
mere speculation, no one has yet been able to substantively say, there
had been violations of international humanitarian law.