Sri Lanka awaits UN panel request for visit

December 19, 2010 1:12 am 

COLOMBO, Dec. 18 — Sri Lanka awaits a formal United Nations request to allow its special panel on the island to visit the country, Bandula Jayasekera, an external affairs ministry spokesman said here Saturday.

Jayasekera was responding to a statement from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa had agreed with him to enable the panel to visit the island to meet with the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission (LLRC).

The commission was appointed by Rajapaksa to look back at the island's bloody conflict between government troops and the separatist Tamil Tiger rebels.

Ban said Friday that his panel of experts is now able to visit Sri Lanka and meet with the LLRC. He praised the Sri Lankan president for his flexibility on this issue.

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

A government minister led a death fast in July against the UN panel calling for its withdrawal. (PNA/Xinhua) scs//rsm

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