Defense Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has said that the controversial Darusman panel has failed to recognize the immense steps the government has taken to bring peace and reconciliation, matched with development, to the North and North-East of the country that not too long ago was controlled with an armed iron fist by the LTTE.
He has said that within the first 12 months of the war ending, we even resettled over 350,000 displaced Tamils, an achievement that was applauded by Secretary General Ban ki-Moon himself and several international humanitarian organizations. But instead of acknowledging any of this, he has pointed that the panel has painted a wrong picture that there is an enduring legacy of bitterness still prevailing in these areas’.
The Defense Secretary has pointed out that Sri Lanka has always been a responsible and accommodating member of the United Nations, and has never failed to respond to UN requests for Sri Lankan troops to participate in peace-keeping missions or humanitarian missions such as in Haiti, and on some occasions Sri Lanka agreed to the request even when the Sri Lankan troops were stretched to the limit during the various stages of Sri Lanka’s own conflict. He has said it is very unfair for the Secretary General to pick on Sri Lanka for this sort of arbitrary treatment.
Rajapaksa has said that appointing the panel, which in turn comes out with a report that goes far beyond its original mandate, is a brazen violation of Sri Lanka’s sovereignty, and the Secretary General is needlessly pushing Sri Lanka against the wall and forcing the country to seek the help of its friends in the UN Security Council like Russia and China’.
He has commended Russia for not even waiting for any formal request for help from the Sri Lankan government. He has pointed out that within two days of the report coming out, Russian Ambassador to Sri Lanka Vladmir Mikhaylov has declared in Colombo that ‘Sri Lanka had every right and obligation to do everything within its means to protect its people from terrorism. Unfortunately it seems the panel of experts went beyond its task as had been made known to our representative in New York.’
Gotabhaya Rajapaksa has emphasized that the Secretary General should have asked the opinion of the Security Council or the General Assembly on this matter, but rather than doing so, a panel was appointed, and the decision to appoint this panel was a personal initiative of the Secretary General and taken without regarding the position of Sri Lanka as a sovereign state and a member of the UN.
He has further said that the panel appears to have opted for selective amnesia when it came to discussing the atrocities committed by the Tamil Tigers, while going into lengthy anguish made over the perceived sins of the Sri Lankan military.
He has said that rather than acting as a trio of advisers offering sound counsel to Ban ki-Moon, the panel comes across like three stooges offering succor to remnants of the LTTE scattered across Western capitals.
Courtesy : Asian Tribune