Failure to take up UK evidence in Geneva by Govt.

By Shamindra Ferdinando

(Courtesy of The Island)

President and Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces Maithripala Sirisena yesterday said that Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative in Geneva and the ministerial delegation that had represented the country at the 37 session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) had performed exceptionally well.

President Sirisena said so when The Island inquired from him why representatives of his government hadn’t brought recently released wartime British High Commission dispatches to the notice of the UNHRC in a bid to push for a reappraisal of unsubstantiated war crimes allegations leading to the UN call for a new Constitution. The Island asked whether such lapses on the part of the government had allowed the TNA to continue to step up pressure on the administration.

The Island pointed out that TNA leader R. Sampanthan, while calling for European Union intervention to secure substantial power-sharing arrangements in the new Constitution, warned the Sirisena-Wickremesinghe government of dire consequences unless their demand wasn’t met.

The Island reminded Lord Naseby bringing the existence of declassified diplomatic papers that contradicted UN accusations as regards over 40,000 civilian killings on the Vanni east front to the House of Lords in Oct last year.

In a statement issued on Thursday, the TNA quoted Sampanthan as having told an EU delegation comprising six members including the Standing Rapporteur for South Asia, from the European Parliament Committee on International Trade: “”We are being absolutely reasonable in these matters. If the government does not deliver it will enable the rise of the extremists among our community, and we may be compelled to take a hardline stand.”

President Sirisena said in addition to the Permanent Representative there (Ambassador Ravinatha Aryasinha), the government sent Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana, PC, Dr. Sarath Amunugama and Faizer Musthapha, PC to explain Sri Lanka’s stand.

President Sirisena emphasized that foreign judges wouldn’t be accommodated in any unaccountability mechanism and such inclusion wasn’t possible in accordance with the Constitution.

President Sirisena said that he had received assurances from Sampanthan on many occasions that they never expected a solution to the national problem not acceptable to the majority. The President stressed the importance of having talks on this issue without causing further conflicts.

President Sirisena denied any knowledge of an agreement between PM Wickremesinghe and the TNA to address post-war issues in return for the latter voting against the no -faith motion against the UNP leader.

President Sirisena dismissed the possibility of the UNP-TNA forming a coalition government in the wake of the recent abortive bid to oust PM Wickremesinghe.

Responding to another query, the President said that bringing in a new Constitution was the responsibility of the parliament. The SLFP leader declined to comment on the proposed Constitution or discuss possible deadline to achieve the objective.

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