UN chief recalls top envoy to Sri Lanka

Written by: Samyuktha
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London, July 9 ANI): United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has recalled the world body's top envoy to Sri Lanka and closed down an office in Colombo in light of continuing protests over a panel set up to investigate war crimes.

According to the BBC, Ban Ki-moon has said that it was "unacceptable" that Sri Lankan authorities had failed to prevent the disruption of the work of UN personnel in the country.

"In light of the evolving situation, he is recalling the United Nations Resident Co-ordinator, Neil Buhne, to New York for consultations. He has also decided that the UN Development Programme Regional Centre in Colombo will be closed," UN spokesman said.

Ban Ki-moon has urged the Sri Lankan Government to live up to its responsibilities towards the United Nations as host country to ensure continuation of the vital work of the organisation to assist the people of Sri Lanka without any further hindrance.

Meanwhile, Sri Lanka's Housing Minister, Wimal Weerawansa, is leading the demonstrations and urged "progressive nations" to halt a UN probe over possible war crimes during Sri Lanka's civil war.

The BBC also stated that he had also begun a hunger strike near the main gate of the UN office in a bid to increase pressure on the organisation.

"I am starting a fast till death. Only when the accusations of war crimes are withdrawn and the panel abolished, will I stop this," the minister said.

The UN secretary general named a three-member panel last month to advise on "accountability issues" arising from the final stages of the 25-year conflict between government forces and the separatist Tamil Tigers, which ended in May 2009.

About 7,000 civilians died in the last five months of fighting, but Sri Lanka's Government had denied that its troops acted in contravention of international law, and considers the panel a violation of its sovereignty and an application of double standards by the West. (ANI)

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