President meets UN Secretary General Guterres | Sunday Observer

President meets UN Secretary General Guterres

President Maithripala Sirisena with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres
President Maithripala Sirisena with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres

Minister of Integration, Reconciliation and Official Languages, Mano Ganesan yesterday said that President Maithripala Sirisena has not handed over any proposals to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres when the pair met on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) sessions on Friday, September 28.

Minister Ganesan, who was a member of the Presidential delegation to the UNGA in New York, responding to questions on the social media network Twitter about whether proposals regarding Sri Lanka’s human rights situation and reconciliation had been handed over to the UNSG, said, “No such proposals on any subject given to UNSG Antonio Guterres”.

In a widely publicised meeting with editors on September 14, President Sirisena vowed to seek a reprieve from the United Nations on allegations of human rights abuses against the Sri Lanka’s security forces, with a detailed plan to ‘settle’ the country’s issues at the UN Human Rights Council.

President Sirisena said he would ask the UN General Assembly to allow Sri Lanka to ‘amicably resolve’ the allegations of rights abuses against the armed forces.

“I will also make a written request to the Human Rights Council to settle the allegations against our troops,” Sirisena said. “I want to tell them to remove these charges. We can amicably resolve this issue,” he told editors.

Ministers Champika Ranawaka, Thilak Marapana and Ganesan, along with Sri Lanka’s Permanent Representative to the UN in New York, Dr Rohan Perera, accompanied President Sirisena during his meeting with the UNSG on Friday at the UN Headquarters.

President Sirisena had briefed the UN Chief on Sri Lanka’s progress in strengthening democracy, rule of law, media freedom and reconciliation, the President’s Office said.

UNSG Guterres said he appreciated the complex challenges faced by Sri Lanka, and added that the UN would continue to support the country’s efforts towards reconciliation in the aftermath of a conflict that spanned nearly three decades. The UNSG had also praised Sri Lanka’s good work in peace-building, human rights and UN peace-keeping, President Sirisena’s office said in a media release. Soon after the President’s address at the 73rd session of the UNGA, Minister Ganesan tweeted, “President #MY3 disappointed both #Sinhala & #Tamil extremists @UNGA. It’s fine at the Moment with less controversy.”