|External Affairs Minister's Visit to UN|
|Tuesday, 25 May 2010 08:02|
The Minister of External Affairs Hon. Professor G.L. Peiris visits New York
During his discussions with the senior officials he addressed the issue of the appointment of the Commission of Inquiry by the Government of Sri Lanka, to address, among other things, the accountability aspect. The Minister emphasized that the Commission has been given wide powers, is constituted of extremely eminent Commissioners and has been provided adequate resources to perform its task. In the circumstances, there was no reason to cast doubt on the ability of the Commission to discharge its mandate adequately to the satisfaction of all concerned or prejudge its possible outcomes. He also emphasized that it was important to allow space for the Commission to perform its functions without being pressured unnecessarily by external elements. He noted that other governments, including the US had welcomed the appointment of the Commission as similar mechanisms had been found useful in other post conflict situations. He further noted that the ground situation has changed substantially in the last few weeks making any outside intervention utterly or the appointment of an extraneous panel unnecessary.
Sri Lanka has a rich judicial history going back centuries and it could be expected that the Commissioners would conduct their investigations in conformity with the highest judicial standards. The proposal to conduct international investigations or even to appoint panels would duplicate the work of the Commission and would give rise to a negative political reaction within Sri Lanka.
The Minister also explained measures to be taken to realize the reconciliation goals of the Government following the successful defeat of a terrorist group that was considered to be invincible. Elections have been held in all the Provinces except in the North and for the national Parliament. The government was actively reaching out to the minorities. A substantial proportion of almost 300,000 persons who had been displaced is now substantially back in their own homes, over 8000 adult combatants will be treated as victims, rehabilitated and returned to their homes, child combatants are essentially being returned to their own families, extensive development work has been carried out in the North and the East to ensure that the people of these areas who were treated as a human shield by the LTTE and herded into a small combat zone by the terrorists will be able to resume their normal lives and become economically active again.
The Minister will proceed to Washington for additional meetings with the US authorities, including with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
The Minister was accompanied at these meeting by Ambassador Dr. Palitha Kohona, Deputy Permanent Representative Mr. Bandula Jayasekera and Counsellor Mr. Maxwell Keegel.