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* Allow Sri Lanka to address its internal issues without interference, UN representative requests
Sat, Mar 20, 2010, 10:49 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 20, Colombo: A high ranking Sri Lankan official to the United Nations said the external parties should allow Sri Lanka to deal with its internal issues without the interference from external forces.

In an interview to Inter Press Service on Friday, Sri Lanka's Permanent Representative to the UN, Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona made these remarks referring to the appointment of an expert panel to advise the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Sri Lanka's accountability issues.

"All parties need to reflect on the political consequences of the course of action currently being discussed and remind ourselves of the importance of permitting Sri Lanka the space to address its internal issues without the irritant of external interference which could also be precedent-setting in a global sense," Kohona said.

Kohona said he doesn't know whether there is a truth to the rumor that the UN Chief is pressured by Western countries to take action against Sri Lanka but it would be strange for any country to force the Secretary-General to penalize a small developing country for single handedly eliminating a ruthless terrorist organization while "better documented violations of international humanitarian standards are occurring elsewhere."

The Ambassador said he doesn't believe the relationship between the United Nations and Sri Lanka is deteriorating and as a sovereign and equal member of the UN, Sri Lanka will continue to play its rightful role. He said the Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs B. Lynn Pascoe will visit Sri Lanka following the invitation issued by the President.

When asked whether China would relent to Western pressure as it did with Iran and stop supporting Sri Lanka, Kohona expressed confidence that China's support would continue for defending Sri Lanka against such interferences.

The representative said Sri Lanka's Attorney General has already outlined an accountability mechanism before the Human Rights Council to address those issues.

Sri Lanka is confident that the UN Chief will act in a manner that will not inflame the political sensitivities in the country, especially in the lead-up to a general election in April, the Ambassador said.

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