Ban's 1st Meeting with Sri Lanka Panel Omitted From Schedule,
September 16 -- The panel of
experts on war crimes in Sri
Lanka, which UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced in March,
supposed to complete its work within four months of formally
beginning. On September 14, Inner City Press asked Ban's spokesman
Martin Nesirky why the panel had not yet even begun. Nesirky replied
that it would begin later in the week, by meeting with Ban.
schedule for Thursday September 16, while listing a meeting with a
Grand Master of the Urasenke Tradition of Team, did not list any
meeting with the panel. Inner City Press asked Nesirky about it.
from Minute 22:38.
Ban's meeting with the panel would occur “today, this afternoon.” Inner
City Press asked, why wasn't it listed on Ban's schedule?
is on the schedule,” Nesirky replied.
What is the
purpose of publishing the schedule that, if a meeting about war
crimes is not listed?
“There are any
number of reasons some things are on the schedule and some things are
not,” Nesirky said. “Internal meetings typically are not.”
But Ban's meeting
with, for example, the panel on the assault on the Gaza flotilla was
“who's panel is it?” Good question -- some now think it is
Mahinda Rajapaksa's panel.
On September 14, Inner City Press asked
Nesirky to describe Ban's experience with Rajapaksa prior to becoming
Secretary General of the UN, and to confirm that Ban's son in law
Siddarth Chatterjee, while an Indian army officer, served in the
Indian Peace Keeping Force in majority Tamil areas. Nesirky said he
would “get back” to Inner City Press on these.
More than 48 hours
later, Nesirky has provided no information in this regard. Watch this
UN's Ban and tea, previously, Sri Lanka
accountability (panel meeting) not shown
UN's September 14, 2010 transcript:
Press: On Sri Lanka, I wanted to ask this, since, recently there
has been a removal of term limits on the president Mahendra
Rajapaksa, saying that he can run forever, and The Economist magazine
said that Rajapaksa has “preferred to put the consolidation of his
family’s power ahead of solely needed national reconciliation.” The
Government has now banned The Economist, this edition from the
country. Since the Secretary-General, you know, has referred a lot
to his May 2009 joint statement with Mr. Rajapaksa that includes
references to accountability for war crimes and reconciliation, one —
does he have any comment either on the extent that the elimination of
term limits or on the banning of a publication? Two — the panel
that he announced in March and that sort of convened once in July has
it yet begun? Has the four-month clock begun? And just relatedly,
two questions, can you describe the personal relationship of the
Secretary-General with Mr. Rajapaksa, including prior to becoming
Secretary-General? And, can you confirm that the Secretary-General’s
son-in-law served in the Indian peacekeeping force that occupied
Tamil areas of Sri Lanka during previous peace negotiations? Just as
a factual matter to know what the Secretary-General’s connections
to Sri Lanka are?
On the term limits, that’s an internal matter for Sri
Lanka. I don’t have any comment on that. On publications and the
banning thereof or the difficulty of receiving in any place, our
general view would be that freedom of the media is an essential part
of, an essential ingredient for democracy in any country. You ask
about the panel of experts — the panel members and support staff
have been conducting intensive preparatory work, and indeed the panel
will meet with the Secretary-General this week, marking the formal
commencement of its activities. And as the final two questions, I
will get back to you.
We're still waiting.
Watch this site.
* * *
Silent on Sri Lanka Repeal of Term Limits, Links, Panel Still
14 -- As Sri Lanka's Mahinda Rajapaksa moved to
repeal term limits, and barred publication which criticized this as
inconsistent with national reconciliation, the UN and Secretary
General Ban Ki-moon stayed silent.
Inner City Press on
September 14 pushed and asked Mr. Ban's spokesman Martin Nesirky
about this, about why Ban's panel of experts on war crimes in Sri
Lanka, announced in March, has yet to begin its work, and Ban's
connections with Rajapaksa and Sri Lanka. Video here,
Nesirky said that
the UN and Ban have no comment on the repeal of term limits, calling
it an internal matter. That's what Russia and China on the UN
Security Council said about the bloody
final stages of the conflict
in early 2009. The Economist wrote that by the subsequent
constitutional change, Rajapaksa showed he "preferred to put the
consolidation of his family's power ahead of a sorely needed national
reconciliation” -- and then got banned. Nesirky offered the
“general” thought that censorship is inconsistent with democracy.
that Ban's panel still has not begun its work, that its four month
clock has not begun. He said that the panel members will meet with
Ban “this week.” We'll see.
Inner City Press
asked Nesirky to describe Ban's experience with Rajapaksa prior to
becoming Secretary General of the UN, and to confirm that Ban's son
in law Siddarth Chatterjee, while an Indian army officer, served in
the Indian Peace Keeping Force in majority Tamil areas.
UN's Ban and M. Rajapaksa, repeal of term limits not shown
he would “get back” to Inner City Press on these. Watch this
Ban held a press conference on September 13, but Inner City
Press was not granted permission to ask a question. On September 14,
Inner City Press was told no more questions were being allowed -- so
Inner City Press asked for an explanation of this limitation, that it
wanted to ask about Sri Lanka. Video here,
allowed the Sri Lanka questions, while deferring any answer to two of
them. We will continue to follow these issues.
* * *
Move to Place Alleged War Criminal As Ambassador Questioned
-- Sri Lanka's Deputy Permanent Representative to
the UN post, vacant following Bandula Jayasekera's department
triggered by a sexual harassment scandal, is now reportedly slated to
be filled by Major General
Shavendra Silva, who “was allegedly
among those mentioned by MP Sarath Fonseka in a media interview where
he had said that the former 58 Division Commander had received orders
to shoot at sight LTTE suspects who came with white flags to
surrender to the army during the final stage of war.”
the UN on
Wednesday, Inner City Press asked Martin Nesirky, the spokesman for
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, about this reported appointment and
that of General G.A. Chandrasiri to replace Palitha Kohona as
Permanent Representative. Video here,
wouldn't comment on hypotheticals, when Inner City Press asked if
Ban would have some discretion to not accept credentials when
presented, Nesirky said he would look into it.
a witness to the war crime events about which Ban has
appointed a (stalled) three member panel to advise him. Would
appointing him an ambassador give him de facto or de jure diplomatic
UN's Ban takes credentials from Kohona- is acceptance automatic?
asked Nesirky if the four
month “clock” of Ban's panel of
experts had finally begun. No, Nesirky said, the clock has not
started but it is being wound. But why so slowly? Watch this site.
City Press asked a Sri Lankan diplomat about the
reported new Deputy Perm Rep and Perm Rep. “It's not yet
confirmed,” he answered, adding that the entire staff of the
mission in New York might be replaced.
* * *
No Comment on Fonseka, Panel Still Not Started, Ban
Book In Flux, Lee Kuan Yew Author Snubbed
As in Sri Lanka the government's
began, with a focus not on the civilians killed in
2009 but on how a ceasefire earlier broke down, Inner City Press on
Friday asked UN Spokesman Martin Nesirky if the UN had any comment on
Sri Lanka's or its panel,
Sarath Fonseka, whose offer to testify about war crimes the UN has
apparently turned down. Video here,
the UN has no “new comment” on Fonseka, but had earlier urged due
process. That was before the process and conviction, which Fonseka
has called a sham.
interim, Secretary General Ban Ki-moon was
burned in effigy during a blockade of the UN compound in Colombo led
by government minister Wimal Weerawansa. Since then, the UN has said
and done almost nothing.
Ban's panel of experts on accountability in Sri Lanka
has finally begun its work, triggering the start of the four month
clock to turn in a report. Nesirky replied that he couldn't “say
when” the panel will start.
reason being offered to Inner City Press is the illness of the spouse
of one of the three panel members.
briefings were full of questions about author Tom Plate's
that he will profile Ban Ki-moon as the third in his series of
“Giants of Asia.”
UN's Ban unfocused in Sri Lanka, panel's start and
book not shown
At an August
10 book party near the United
Nations, Plate read from his book about Singapore's Lee Kwan Yew, who
is quoted on page 55 of the book saying the
is Sri Lanka. It is not a happy, united country. Yes, they [the
majority Sinhalese government] have beaten the Tamil Tigers this
time, but the Sinhalese who are less capable are putting down a
minority of Jaffna Tamils who are more capable. They were squeezing
them out. That's why the Tamils rebelled. But I do not see them
ethnic cleansing all two million plus Jaffna Tamils. The Jaffna
Tamils have been in Sri Lanka as long as the Sinhalese...[referring
to Sri Lanka's president Mahinda Rajapaksa] 'I've read his speeches
and I knew he was a Sinhalese extremist. I cannot change his mind.'”
section of the book, and said that it was difficult to
keep it in. Afterward, Inner City Press asked Plate to explain: how
had wanted the section to come out? Of all that he said Tuesday
night, this was the only time that Plate asked to go off the record.
we respected the request to omit from
coverage the presence of at least one individual and entourage.
later in the
insisted that Ban has made
no commitment to Plate nor to anyone else for such a profile. Since
Plate unequivocally said that Ban will be the third Giant of Asia, in
Inner City Press' presence and in writing, Inner City Press asked
Friday if there was some meaning of the word “commitment” that it
responded that like any piece of information, it
could change. Video here,
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.
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