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UN chief, Security Council discuss Sri Lanka situation


New York : UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon met Friday with the 15 members of the UN Security Council to discuss the controversial ending of the ethnic conflict in Sri Lanka, in which human rights advocates and news reports have said up to 20,000 civilians were killed.

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva and advocacy groups like Amnesty International have called for an investigation based on allegations of high numbers of civilian deaths.

The closed-door meeting between Ban and the council in a basement conference room at UN headquarters in New York was billed as an “informal inter-active discussion on Sri Lanka.” Neither side has said it will draw any conclusion out of the debate.

Ban said in early June, after the Sri Lankan government declared victory over the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), that he considered the civilian casualties “unacceptably high”. He cited media reports alleging the civilian deaths stood at 20,000.

Ban rejected criticism that the UN had played down the facts of the final onslaught as two decades of fighting between the government and LTTE was drawing to an end in May.

The UN has been involved in providing relief assistance to the hundreds of thousands of Sri Lankans trapped or displaced by the fighting.