By Jamila Najmuddin
The government has had high level talks with the United Nations (UN) in New York to give an assurance over the security of the UN staff in Colombo after its office was forced to temporarily close down today, UN Associate Spokesperson Choi Soung-ah told Daily Mirror online.
Speaking to Daily Mirror online from New York Choi Soung-ah said that External Affairs Minister Professor G.L Peiris and Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York Dr. Palitha Kohona had given fresh security assurances today following violent protests outside the UN office in Colombo yesterday led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa.
She added that the UN was now conducting a security assessment following the latest developments and will subsequently decide when the Colombo staff members could return to work. She however added that essential staff members are expected to return to work tomorrow.
“The UN is in daily talks with the Sri Lankan government and hopefully our staff will return back to work soon,” Choi Soung-ah told Daily Mirror online.
The UN Associate Spokesperson added that by conducting such protests the smooth operations of UN agencies in Sri Lanka are being disrupted and Sri Lanka must realize that the UN is in Colombo to assist the Sri Lankan people.
“The UN does not belong to any country. We are fair in whatever we do,” she said.
The UN office in Colombo was temporarily closed today and the UN staff had been advised to work from home as a result of the tense situation which developed outside the UN office today, UN sources told Daily Mirror online.
Instructions to work from home was issued to the UN staff after the group of protestors led by Minister Wimal Weerawansa who gathered outside the UN office laid siege to the building and prevented the UN staff from leaving the premises.
The protest continued today with members of the National Freedom Front staging a fast outside the UN office Colombo calling on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to reconsider his decision to appoint a panel on Sri Lanka. (Daily Mirror online)