Sri Lanka sets condition for UN panel visit

22:35, December 30, 2010      

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The Sri Lankan government said Thursday that UN Secretary General's panel could be allowed to visit the country only if it doesn't investigate into alleged war crimes against the country.

The UN panel would be issued visas only to meet the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC), Sri Lanka's own panel looking back at its longstanding conflict which ended in May 2009, said Keheliya Rambukwella, the minister of information and the government spokesman.

Sri Lanka had earlier slammed the panel as interference of its sovereignty, saying the investigative panel headed by former Indonesian Attorney General Marzuki Darusman would not be granted visas.

"The circumstances are different now and they have expressed willingness to visit Sri Lanka and give evidence to the government- appointed LLRC," Rambukwella said.

"The purpose of their visit will be present at the sittings of the LLRC. It is up to the commissioner whether they will make themselves available for a discussion with the panel outside the LLRC sittings," he said.

The Sri Lankan military was accused of killing civilians during the final stage of the battle with the Tamil Tiger rebels, an allegation strongly denied by the government.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon appointed a three-member expert panel in June to advise him on the alleged incidents. A Sri Lankan government minister led a death fast in July against the panel, calling for its withdrawal.

Source: Xinhua
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