Foreign Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Mahishini Colonne yesterday said that she didn’t believe there was any agreement between the UN and Sri Lanka regarding a domestic inquiry as claimed by the UK based Channel-4 news agency.
Responding to a question posed at the daily media briefing regarding an alleged agreement between the UN and Sri Lanka on UN support for a domestic inquiry, Ms. ColonNe first said she didn’t want to comment on something that was reported on Channel 4.
When asked if she could confirm that there was such an agreement with the UN, she said, “I don’t believe there is any agreement of the nature that the Channel 4 portrays.”
However, she said the Undersecretary General of the UN Political Affairs Department, during a visit here in March, had averred that the UN was ready to help Sri Lanka.
"He said, 'As requested by Sri Lanka, the UN is committed to assisting in the process of accountability and reconciliation through the peace building fund and other facilities as appropriate. But it is first and foremost for the Sri Lankans themselves to shape how to address the issues of the past in order to find a common future,' ” she said, quoting the undersecretary general.
She said they had no further comment on the Channel-4 report because that was essentially based on the remarks made by the Northern Province Chief Minister in relation to the UN. “So we do not to get involved in commenting on that,” she said.
“From the time President Sirisena was appointed and even before that, even in his election campaign and in the 100 days work programme, he stated that Sri Lanka would take certain steps to strengthen human rights, the rule of law, good governance and so on, and that Sri Lanka remains ready to be engaged with the International Community, with countries, with International Organisations and so on, in carrying out this task,” she said.
She further said, "It is not something that we can do quickly as some people expect, and it is also not something that we can do alone. We are party to certain conventions of the United Nations and we have acceded to those conventions, as a Sovereign State, not because of any pressure exerted by anyone. And even on the questions of accountability, the 100 days work programme, I think, in point 93, states that since we are not a party to the ICC Rome Statute, the matter of justice and accountability and so on, rests with the country concerned, that is with Sri Lanka." (Lahiru Pothmulla)