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* UN chief to dispatch envoy to Sri Lanka for discussions on accountability issues
Tue, Mar 9, 2010, 01:08 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 08, Colombo: The United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon insisted today that he intends to appoint a panel to advise him on the accountability issues in Sri Lanka and send his Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs to Sri Lanka for further discussions with the government.

Responding to a question from a reporter at the press briefing today at the UN Headquarters in New York Mr. Ban said he had frank and honest exchange of views with the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, last week over the issues that are of importance and he is concerned with the lack of progress of the joint statement he and President Rajapaksa had agreed during his visit last year.

The major issues, the UN chief is concerned of include political reconciliation, further movement on the condition of internally displaced persons, and the establishment of an accountability process.

The Secretary-General said he raised these issues during his telephone conversation with President Rajapaksa last week.

"I made clear to President Rajapaksa that I intend to move forward on a Group of Experts which will advise me on setting the broad parameters and standards on the way ahead on establishing accountability concerning Sri Lanka," Mr. Ban said.

"For that purpose, we have agreed that I dispatch [Under-Secretary-General of Political Affairs] Lynn Pascoe in the very near future," the Secretary-General confirmed.

When questioned whether it is appropriate to consider employing Sri Lanka Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagam's son at the UN, the Secretary-General said he is not aware of that particular case of job application and any such application has to follow UN procedures.

"Any recruitment process will have to be dealt with in a most transparent and objective manner by the selection committee members. That is what the United Nations has been [using] as a principle," he said.

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