Sri Lanka wants UN to clarify dangerous place claim

By Xinhua

Colombo : Sri Lankan government said here Tuesday that its permanent representative in the United Nations has been asked to call for a clarification on a statement made by a top UN official on the safety of the aid workers in the country.

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“We will take up the issue with the UN,” Keheliya Rambukwella, the government’s defense spokesman and the Minister of Foreign Employment told reporters.

The government has taken strong exception to a statement made by Sir John Holmes, the UN Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under Secretary-General of Humanitarian Affairs last week to the effect that Sri Lanka was one of the world’s dangerous places for aid workers.

He backs his claim citing that 34 aid workers had been killed in the island since 2006.

“As for the government we only know of just 19 aid workers being killed. So we want to know how the figure of 34 had been arrived at”, Rambukwella asserted.

Holmes was in the island on a 3-day visit where he visited the northern Jaffna peninsula and parts of the island’s eastern province.

Holmes’ press comments have drawn an angry reaction from the government. He was blamed for attempting to discredit the government of Sri Lanka on its battle with the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) rebels.