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UN acted in haste in recalling official, shutting UNDP: Lanka

The government today said UN chief Ban Ki-moon had acted in `precipitant haste` in recalling a top official of the world body for consultation and closing the UNDP office here.



Colombo: The government on Friday said UN
chief Ban Ki-moon had acted in `precipitant haste` in
recalling a top official of the world body for consultation
and closing the UNDP office here, amid a row over the setting
up of a human rights panel for Sri Lanka.

The government said Ban Ki-moon had acted in
`precipitant haste` in recalling UN`s Country Representative
Neil Buhne to New York for consultations and closing the
United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) regional office in
the capital.
External Affairs Minister Prof. G.L. Peiris told
parliament that Buhne had been summoned for consultations in
New York by the Secretary General and expressed regret at the
hasty decision.

"Given that background, the UN secretary general acted
in haste by asking Buhne to come to New York," Peiris said,
adding his government "regretted" Ban`s decision.

The Minister clarified that only a regional office had
been closed down and Buhne was recalled only for
consultations.

"The government was in constant consultation with Mr.
Buhne and was working towards resolving the issue," Peiris
said.

Ban summoned Buhne yesterday following a hunger strike
by Housing and Construction Minister Wimal Weerawansa outside
the UN office in the capital in protest against the setting up
of an advisory panel by the UN to look into alleged human
rights abuses during the last phase of Sri Lanka`s ethnic
conflict.

Despite Colombo`s protests, the UN announced in June a
panel that will "formulate advice" on dealing with the alleged
human rights violations that occurred in the months before the
government defeated the LTTE in May 2009.

Protesters have been holding demonstrations outside
the UN office in the capital, calling on the world body to
scrap the panel.
Ban slammed as "unacceptable" the failure of the
government to facilitate the normal working of the UN offices.

A top UN official in New York said the
Secretary-General calls upon the government of Sri Lanka to
live up to its responsibilities towards the world body as host
country, so as to ensure continuation of the vital work of the
organisation to assist the people without any further
hindrance.

Peiris said the government had contacted Buhne
yesterday to assure him that the protests would be over soon.

PTI

From Zee News

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