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Leading News from Sri Lanka::

* UN Chief unlikely to establish expert panel on Sri Lanka soon
Tue, Mar 16, 2010, 05:13 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 16, Colombo: United Nations Secretary-General is unlikely to establish an expert panel to advice him on the accountability issues related to Sri Lanka's bloody conflict soon, his spokesman said Monday.

In response to a question from media, Martin Nesirky the spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, said that the Secretary-General has not as yet appointed a Panel of Experts which would be asked to advise him on accountability issues as they might apply to Sri Lanka.

"He is still to consider such a panel's terms of reference and is in contact with his advisers, including the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, on this," the spokesperson said.

When asked for a time frame to establish the panel Nesirky said "It is unlikely that such a panel will be actually established very soon."

No names of any experts have been suggested to the UN Chief to include in the panel yet, the spokesman added.

UN Chief's decision to appoint an expert panel to investigate Sri Lanka's conduct during the final stages of the war came under severe criticism from other countries as well as from the Sri Lankan government.

Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa said the Secretary-General's intention to appoint a panel of experts to advice him on accountability issues is totally uncalled for and unwarranted.

The 118-member international organization of non-aligned states, Non Aligned Movement (NAM) expressed its concerns over the Secretary-General's move.

"The Non Aligned Movement strongly condemns selective targeting of individual countries which it deems contrary to the founding principles of the movement and the United Nations Charter," the NAM's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the UN in New York recently said in a letter.

UN Secretary General's move could do more harm than good to the country's ongoing and relentless efforts aimed at reinforcing reconciliation and national unity, he pointed out.

Sri Lanka last may with the help of power houses Russia, India, and China, successfully fended off a resolution brought by the UN Human Rights Council for an international inquiry into the alleged crimes of war.

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