Sri Lanka death fast minister ends action

09:49, July 11, 2010      

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Wimal Weerawansa, the Sri Lankan cabinet minister currently on a death fast against UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon, finally ended his action here Saturday evening.

Supporters and medical staff attend to Sri Lankan Housing Minister Wimal Weerawansa as he lies on a hunger strike outside the UN office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, July 10, 2010. (Xinhua/AFP)

Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, who visited him at the protest site opposite to UN office, gave him a glass of tender coconut water known as "Thambili" before sending him to hospital in an ambulance, party officials said.

Rajapaksa's visit to the site came just hours after Weerawansa had vowed not to relent and give up fast.

"Please do not force me to give up. If I die Ban Ki-Moon will be responsible," a feeble Weerawansa affected by three days of hunger strike told reporters at the fasting site.

His party on Tuesday began protest action against Ban's decision to appoint an advisory panel on alleged war crimes during the last stages of the island's military conflict with Tamil Tiger rebels.

The protest action drew a retort from the United Nations which summoned its resident coordinator Neil Buhne for consultations.

Ban has also decided to close the UNDP Regional Center in Colombo as he finds it unacceptable that the Sri Lankan authorities have failed to prevent the disruption of the normal functioning of the UN offices in Colombo as a result of unruly protests organized and led by a cabinet minister of the government.

The United States, Britain and several EU nations too joined in the condemnation of the protest calling it as action unacceptable.

Construction, Engineering Services, Housing and Common Amenities Minister Weerawansa, aged 40 and the father of three children, wants Ban to withdraw the panel which he said was aimed at hauling Sri Lanka's troops before a war crimes tribunal.



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