“Abnormal” Understanding with Sri Lanka's
Rajapaksa, UN Won't Answer
October 1, 2010 -- The UN's
stonewalling on Sri Lanka
expanded on October 1 with the Spokesman for Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon dodging whether Ban reached a private understanding with
President Mahinda Rajapaksa that Rajapaksa could represent what Ban
said in a one on one meeting about the limits of the UN war crimes
“It's up to
individual heads of state” to issue whatever summaries they want,
Spokesman Martin Nesirky said.
did Ban reach
an understanding with Rajapaksa, that he could say things not
included in Ban's own summary of their meeting? Nesirky did not
answer. Video here,
from Minute 47:28.
asked again, as it has for months, for a desciption of Ban's contacts
with Rajapaksa, including before and as Ban became Secretary General.
promised already to provide the answer, Nesirky on October 1 said he
didn't understand the question: a list of meetings? Yes, of meetings
and topics and whether Ban considers Rajapaksa a personal friend.
else to explain
what Ban's adviser Nicholas Haysom called the “abnormal” summary
of the two men's meeting -- which unlike other UN summaries included
the President's as well as Ban's words -- and the separate
understanding about Rajapaksa issuing his own summary?
refused to explain how the “abnormal” summary of Ban's meeting
with Rajapaksa was produced. Hayson, for one, seemed surprised to see
couldn't or wouldn't explain how it was produced implies that Nesirky
was not involved in his preparation. Who was, then?
the question of
Ban's son in law Siddarth Chatterjee's involvement in Sri Lanka, with
the Indian army force, Nesirky
deemed it “irrelevant” two weeks
after saying he would answer it. On October 1, Inner City Press asked
if Nesirky had even deigned to ask Ban or his Office about it -- that
is, whether Nesirky had the answer and wouldn't provide it, or didn't
even have the answer. Even this was not answered.
UN's Ban and Rajapaksa September 2010, understanding
by repeating that there are a lot of other issues than Sri Lanka: the
Middle East, Myanmar...
City Press agreed but noted that Sri Lanka is the only
country in which Ban has been burned in effigy - and from which
people protested his speech at a midtown Manhattan hotel -- and that
an “abnormal” summary of his meeting with the President had been
issued, Nesirky asked if Inner City Press was saying that because of
the burning in effigy, the summary was different. Perhaps it was a
October 1, 2010 transcript:
Nesirky: Yes, Matthew.
Press: Sure, I wanted to ask, this is on another inquiry war
crimes, the one in Sri Lanka. I have done a little bit more
reporting and can say that a Sri Lankan diplomat yesterday told me
that President Rajapaksa had an understanding with the
Secretary-General that he could issues his own summary of the
tête-à-tête meeting. That they violated no rules;
that that was
the understanding. I wanted to get your comment on that.
As I said, it’s up to individual countries. If they wish to
provide a readout of a meeting, it’s for them to do.
Press: Was there an understanding? That’s the word that he
used to me, that there was an understanding that would be done, but
it wasn’t done, and then the Secretary-General chose not to
comment. The understanding was that it would be done in that way.
Well, as I said, this was tête-à-tête meeting. I
wasn’t in the
room. I assume that the diplomat that you refer to was also not in
the room, and I think I will leave it at that.
Press: I want to ask, you’ve said that the information about
Ban Ki-moon’s son-in-law’s involvement in Sri Lanka is
irrelevant, although I would encourage you to just answer questions
rather than judge their relevance. But I do want to know whether you
are going to give an answer to this description of the
Secretary-General’s relationship with President Rajapaksa prior to
It’s really important to understand precisely: what do you mean by
No, I mean what do you want? A list of the number of times they met
or what? I mean, it’s just not clear to me.
Press: The times that they met; the terms on the issues on which
they met about, whether, you know, whether the Secretary-General
considers him a personal friend. All going to this point of whether,
in on extraordinary…, why this, there was an abnormal described by
Haysom as abnormal; and why the Sri Lankan Government is now saying
they had a special understanding with the Secretary-General that
apparently other Governments don’t get when the issue at issue is a
inquiry into war crimes and the killing of 40,000 people. It seems
relevant. But I mean, whether you think it is irrelevant, I have
asked you that. You’d said you’d get it and I don’t have it. And on the
question of the son-in-law, I don’t, have you been told? Have you asked
the Secretary-General’s Office for that information
or have you just not asked him? Do you have it but you don’t want
to tell me or you don’t have it? That’s what I want to know.
Well, the logic of that is a little bit confused. On the question
of the Secretary-General’s meetings or otherwise with President
Rajapaksa, the Secretary-General, as you know, before he was
Secretary-General was the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Korea.
And I will need to check what meetings he may have had in that
Press: Check if he went on a visit with the President down to
the hometown of the President in southern Sri Lanka.
I think we can obviously find that out. I mean, you are asking,
we can obviously find out. But I mean, there are a couple of things
here. One is that your focus is on this topic. There are many other
topics that the Secretary-General deals with, whether it’s Myanmar,
or the Middle East or, many topics. And it’s not about homing in
and singling out one particular topic.
Press: No, no, Mr. Haysom himself said it was abnormal, and I
think if you look at the readouts that your office put out, there is
only one that has a representation of what the country said. It’s
also the only country that burned Ban Ki-moon in effigy since he’s
been in office. So, I don’t think it’s a random, it’s not a
country he picked at random. [inaudible]
So you think that the readout was done like that because the effigy
was burned, is that what you are saying?
Press: No, I didn’t say that. I said those are true facts that
make it significant, you can try to minimize it, but many people were
killed, he visited the country [inaudible].
It’s not about minimizing, it’s not about minimizing. Don’t
put words into my mouth, Matthew, It’s not…
Press: You said there are many other things.
Yes, that’s not minimizing. That’s just saying that there are
Press: But I asked this question at the beginning of the year,
about his relationship with Rajapaksa, and I asked it two weeks ago
and you’d said you’d get it. So, I don’t want to belabour it,
I just want say…
Well, now you’re belabouring it. And if I have something, I’ll
be happy to share it.
Press: But it’s easy enough to get that. I mean, it’s not…
Well, if it’s easy enough maybe you will have got it already.
Press: No, but from the Secretary-General. You are his
Spokesman, I am not.
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