Ban to Meet with Sri Lanka AG, His Panel Undercut, No Nambiar
Russell Lee, Exclusive
February 22 -- 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.
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.
offers of video conference between
his and Rajapaksa's Panel, or written questions, were rejected.
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.
UN's Ban & M. Rajapaksa, Panel(s) & Nambiar not shown
February 22, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky:
Press: I wanted to ask you a non-Libya question.
By all means. Make a change.
Press: Sure. There was a filing
over the weekend on, with the
Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC)…
Start again, please.
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?
Well, first of all, the filing is as reported in the
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?
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?
Press: [inaudible] what Mr. Nambiar…
I said I don’t have any comment on it at this time. Okay, all
right, thank you very much.
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.
Now -- will Nambiar be at the February 23 meeting? Watch
* * *
Sri Lanka, Ban Says “There Was An Agreement"
On Sri Lanka, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon
on Tuesday insisted to Inner City Press that “there was an
agreement” and that his “Panel will visit Sri Lanka.”
not only have
seven weeks gone by since Ban praised President Mahinda Rajapaksa for
his “flexibility” and announced his Panel on Accountability would
go -- since then, a range of UN officials have acknowledged that Sri
Lana has now refused to let the UN Panel go and speak with
Rajapaksa's Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission.
from both sides that the UN is now offering a mere video
conference call or even answers to written questions.
So much for
unanswered, still, is with whom
UN's Ban & M. Rajapaksa in 9/10, agreement not shonw
From the UN's
transcript of Q&A with Mr. Ban on
– I need to ask you this. In both of your
two last monthly press conferences, you said that your Panel was
going to travel to the country, you praised President Rajapaksa’s
flexibility. It now appears, and I’ve now heard from people on
both sides that the Panel is probably not going to go, that they’ve
offered a video conference. I just wondered what happened. Who did
you speak with before you said that they could go and how do you read
this now, with their failure to go, as the deadline approaches?
you that there was an agreement and that my Panel
will visit Sri Lanka and they are still discussing about the format
and their role in Sri Lanka. And whenever it is decided, I will let
don't go, their work is not finished?}
that they [wouldn’t] go.
to go anyway.
Watch this site.
EU's Catherine Ashton told Inner City Press that
things like that. The
President took the power to prevent independent inquiry, wouldn't
allow someone in to do the inquiry into GSP Plus, which meant that it
was much more complicated. So the words 'the government doesn't
allow' are not unusual.”
* * *
Ban at Oxford Listed 2005 Trip for S. Korea, Now
His Panel Offers
Mere Video Call
visited Sri Lanka twice” UN Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon said on February 2 at Oxford, answered a question
about the UN failing to protect Tamils and failing to pursue
accountability for those who ordered them killed.
May 2009 trip to Sri Lanka, but was unaware of any
other trip Ban made to the country since he became UN Secretary
General. So for five days Inner City Press has asked Ban's
spokesperson Martin Nesirky for the date of the second trip, without
February 7 at
the day's UN press briefing, Inner City Press asked Nesirky if Ban
might paradoxically have been referring to a trip he made in 2005,
when he did not yet work for the UN but was South Korea's foreign
“I think your
analysis is correct,” Nesirky said, “he was referring to a trip
he made when he was foreign minister.”
remains, what was accomplished for accountability during that trip?
Some in fact tie that 2005 trip, which included a detour to President
Mahinda Rajapaksa's Southern hometown of Hambantota where late a
Chinese port was built with South Korea involvement, with Rajapaksa
convincing Sri Lanka's candidate for Secretary General to withdraw in
favor of Ban.
2005 trip at the time:
Republic of Korea will be in Sri
Lanka today and tomorrow... The Prime Minister will be accompanied by
a high level delegation including Ban Ki-moon, Minister of Foreign
Affairs and Trade, Kang Dong-suk, Minister of Construction and
Transportation and Cho Young-taek, Vice Minister for Public Policy
Co-ordination in Prime Minister's Office... The relief supplies will
be later distributed by the Korean NGOs operating in Sri Lanka.
Together with Prime Minister Rajapakse, Prime Minister Hae-chan will
travel along the western coast to have a first-hand view of the
destruction to lives, livelihoods and property and will make a
stop-over in Hambantota.
to this trip an answer to this question, asked at Oxford?
protect and prevent in such countries as Sri
Lanka, where over 40,000 innocent civilians were massacred in 2009.
Will you ensure, during your term, that those responsible are brought
to justice? Will you ensure there is a proper investigation of war
this last, Ban
on February 2 said
I had very serious talks with the
President and Government leaders. After a lengthy, very difficult,
almost turbulent course of negotiations, I was able to convince the
Sri Lankan Government that a group of experts would be established.
Still, it has not yet been able to complete its mission. They are
still negotiating with the Sri Lankan Government.
asked Ban's spokesman to confirm or
deny that the UN is
now offering Sri Lanka a mere video conference call or even just
written questions, rather than a visit. The discussions continue,
Nesirky said, repeating that a visit to Sri Lanka is “not
essential.” Nesirky's Deputy Farhan Haq said that a visit to Sri
Lanka is “desirable.” So what is a video conference, or written
questions? Watch this site.
for an Inner City Press YouTube channel video, mostly UN Headquarters
footage, about civilian
in Sri Lanka.
Click here for Inner City
Press' March 27 UN debate
Click here for Inner City
Press March 12 UN (and AIG
Click here for Inner City
Press' Feb .26 UN debate
Click here for Inner City Press' Jan.
16, 2009 debate about Gaza
Click here for Inner City Press'
review-of-2008 UN Top Ten debate
Click here for Inner
City Press' December 24 debate on UN budget, Niger
Click here from Inner City Press'
December 12 debate on UN double standards
Click here for Inner
City Press' November 25 debate on Somalia, politics
and this October 17 debate, on
Security Council and Obama and the UN.
* * *
usually also available through Google
News and on Lexis-Nexis.
for a Reuters
AlertNet piece by this correspondent
about Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army. Click
for an earlier Reuters AlertNet piece about the Somali
Reconciliation Congress, and the UN's $200,000 contribution from an
undefined trust fund. Video
some are available
in the ProQuest service, and now on Lexis-Nexis.