Sri Lanka, UN Panel Offers Video Conference or Written
Russell Lee, Exclusive
February 5 -- Seven weeks after UN Secretary General Ban
Ki-moon told the Press that his Panel on
Accountability could travel
to Sri Lanka due to President Mahinda Rajapaksa's “flexibility,”
the UN has sunk so low as to propose a conference call by video, or
even just written questions and answer, instead of any visit, Inner
City Press has learned.
interviews with different sides, Inner City Press has learned that a
series of options has now been proposed, starting with a visit to New
York by Sri Lanka's Lessons Learnt & Reconciliation Commission.
said it will only speak with the Executive Office of the
Secretary General, not Ban's panel -- the Panel would “sit in” on
the talks, was the Sri Lankan proposal.
UN has also
proposed a video conference call, or answers to a series of written
questions about accountability. All in all, strikingly different than
what Ban claimed on December 17 -- that his panel could go to Sri
Lanka -- and that Ban repeated to Inner City Press on January 14.
UN's Ban and his Panel: office of video conference not shown
after Ban's Spokesperson's Office refused repeatedly to answer
questions about Ban's statement and who he'd spoken with before
making them, while on his current ongoing trip Ban gave a speech at
Oxford, after which he replied to a question by saying that his Panel
“has not yet been able to complete its mission. They are still
negotiating with the Sri Lankan Government.”
Inner City Press asked Ban's
spokesperson's office in writing and in
person to explain this statement (as well as Ban's statement that he
had been in Sri Lanka twice since May 2009).
UN did not
answer the written questions -- and still hasn't -- so at the February
4 noon briefing Inner
City Press asked how Ban's statement squares with the previous
statement that travel to Sri Lanka, which has been blocked by the
government of President Mahinda Rajapaksa is “not essential.”
spokesman Farhan Haq answered that Ban's Panel “has been discussing
the proper arrangements to see if they can have such arrangements
said that of
the Panel that “they do believe it is desirable to travel to Sri
Lanka, but not essential.”
it seems that
the UN would settle for a mere video conference call, or even written
answers to questions. How could that constitute “completing the
February 4, 2011 transcript:
Press: I want to ask on Sri Lanka; there was some quotes given
out of Ban Ki-moon’s responses at his Oxford speech afterward. He
was asked a question about Sri Lanka, and he said that his panel,
quote, “has not been able to complete their initial stage”. I
just wanted to know if that’s actually what he said and if that,
how that squares with the idea that it’s not essential to go to Sri
Spokesperson Farhan Haq: In terms of what he actually said,
it’s available in our — if you go to the off-the-cuff part of our
website, the questions and answers that he had at Oxford are posted
there. So, you could see it that way.
Press: How does that square with the idea that travelling to Sri
Lanka is not essential? Why have they not been able to complete
their work, if that’s not the thing missing?
Spokesperson: As you are aware, the panel has been discussing
proper arrangements, to see whether it can have such arrangements
made. The panel has made it clear that they do believe that it is
desirable to travel to Sri Lanka, but not essential. And that has
been their consistent position.
it consistent to
now be offering video conference or written questions? Watch this